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  1. #1
    ajkroy is offline Member
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    Sign release to get inheritance???

    What is the name of your state? NH, but the Trust is in FL

    Thank you in advance to any who respond.

    My sister is Co-Trustee for a sizable Trust, of which I am 1/6th beneficiary. The Trust has been in effect for 13 months with no distributions because of significant Estate Tax liability and the fact that many of the assets were in real estate and this is a difficult market in which to liquidate.

    I have made several official requests to my sister for a list of the Trust Assets (denied on the basis that our father didn't want anyone but the lawyer to know the actual assets) and copies of the Estate Tax assessment (never responded). On May 2, I made an official request for a Trust Accounting and informed her all of the requirements she must satisfy under Florida Statute. She keeps putting me off on the Accounting, telling me that it will come "soon".

    This sister has now just sent me a release form to sign and made it clear that I must sign it today before receiving any money. It states:

    The undersigned, as a beneficiary of the XXXXX Revocable Trust, hereby agrees that upon distribution to the undersigned of the amount of $XXXXXX, that the undersigned hereby releases the Trustees of the said Trust from any and all liability, which might arise out of the administration of the Trust by the Trustees for any and all acts of the Trustees up to the date hereof.

    My questions are: 1) What happens to my money if I refuse to sign the above release? Up until now, I didn't know if my sister was corrupt or just disorganized. This seems to state that I can only receive my inheritance if I release her from any wrongdoing, even if it intentional. Am I reading this correctly? Or is this just a standard release?

    2) My copy of the Trust (minus the Schedule A which listed the assets) states that it is an "Irrevocable Trust". I thought that the "Revocable Trust" ended upon his death. Am I mistaken?

    I have an email out to the other Trustee and a call into my lawyer, but I don't know if I will be able to speak to either one of them in a timely manner.

    I am sorry for the long post, but I wanted to included all relevant facts. Thank you for all responses.
  2. #2
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    Are you getting the amount you feel you should? If so, then why not sign?
  3. #3
    ajkroy is offline Member
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    Percentage of unknown amount...

    Thank you, Zigner, for your prompt reply.

    That is part of the problem...I know that I am entitled to 1/6th, but without knowing the actual assets, I have no idea if I am getting what belongs to me or not. From my rough estimations about the assets I am certain of, there seems to be between $300K and $800K missing.

    In the meantime, my sister has paid off her brand-new house, bought two new vehicles, taken several trips, and just sent pictures of her new designer inground pool. She is a SAHM and her husband makes roughly $36K a year.

    Am I just being paranoid? I am a numbers person and I like to see figures to back this up.
  4. #4
    wire is offline Junior Member
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    Red flags

    I am not an attorney, but this does NOT sound kosher at ALL.

    Do NOT sign anything until your attorney looks it (meaning the release form and the actual Trust instrument) over. This sounds totally coercive to me.

    The Trust instrument probably says nothing at all about this kind of "release of liability in order to receive distributions." If this is the case, your sister is acting outside the intent of the Trust, trying to "extort" a release from you in exchange for funds that you should receive regardless of any such release.

    The other major red flag is the time pressure: Sign today or else!

    Based on what you've written, you are not paranoid in the least. And you haven't even received accounting, so how could you possibly know if the Trust has been managed properly or what you are due?

    Hopefully some attorneys here will answer your post, but when I read your post, the warning bells sounded big-time.
  5. #5
    seniorjudge is offline Senior Member
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    [url]http://forum.freeadvice.com/showthread.php?t=358203[/url]

    You were told to get a lawyer several months ago.

    Get one.

    File for an accounting.

    Yesterday.
    There are two rules for success:

    (1) Never tell everything you know.
  6. #6
    ajkroy is offline Member
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    Thank you both for your replies. I do have an attorney here in NH who has agreed to review the documents and advise me. I contacted several attorneys in Florida, but was met with resistance. I was told that I would have to pay a $5K retainer and all Trust proceedings are overseen by a judge, so all I would do is tick off my sister and possibly hold up the distribution.

    SeniorJudge, I know I am naive, so I appreciate any direction you can give. How do I file for an Accounting beyond the demand letter I have sent? Is there a motion I can file to direct her to supply me with information? Is there a time frame within which she must comply? Sorry for all of the questions.

    My own attorney is usually quite responsive, but he is also very busy. I'd hate to make a wrong move while waiting for him to return my call.
  7. #7
    ajkroy is offline Member
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    Update

    I just wanted to update those who took the time to help me. My lawyer called me back and told me to include onto the end of the last line of the release "subject to a review of a full accounting of the Trust assets and expenses". I then signed it and faxed it back. She has already confirmed receipt via email and thanked me for sending it.

    Now, whether or not she actually read it is a different story...

    My attorney is going to work on SeniorJudge's direction to "file" for an accounting (he couldn't explain it to me as he was on his cellphone and in a hurry). Maybe I can finally get some answers.

    Thank you all who helped me.
  8. #8
    Dandy Don is offline Senior Member
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    It's a standard release--you have nothing to lose by signing it and getting your money, but do nothing without consulting your trust attorney first.

    If you find evidence, after requesting an accounting statement and/or audit, of fraud or theft, nothing prevents you from filing a lawsuit to recover the monies after you sign.

    Does the trust exclude this trustee from having to purchase a trustee's bond?

    Was there also a will that was probated or were all assets put into the trust?

    DANDY DON IN OKLAHOMA (tiekh@yahoo.com)
  9. #9
    seniorjudge is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajkroy View Post
    ...

    My attorney is going to work on SeniorJudge's direction to "file" for an accounting (he couldn't explain it to me as he was on his cellphone and in a hurry). Maybe I can finally get some answers.

    ....
    This is a lawsuit demanding that the person who was handling the dough tell the judge where every penny went and if he/she/it cannot, severe consequences ensue...from repayment to penalties plus repayment.
    There are two rules for success:

    (1) Never tell everything you know.
  10. #10
    ajkroy is offline Member
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    Thank you again SeniorJudge, and thanks to you Dandy Don.

    There was a will that was probated. The trust documents also state that no bond is required for the Trustee, though my lawyer says we can request a bond, anyway.

    As an additional update, my brother (co-trustee) suggested that the sibs NOT sign the release. He told my sister that it was unfair to make the distribution contingent upon signing it...and effectively extorting our agreement not to question her.

    SeniorJudge, I am going to talk this over with my attorney first thing tomorrow morning to begin a suit for the financial reporting, though I doubt he can do much from up here. It seems that I am once again in the market for a Florida attorney. Maybe this time I will be more lucky!

    Sincere gratitude to all who gave advice. Thank you.
  11. #11
    Dandy Don is offline Senior Member
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    Sibs should go ahead and sign the document and get whatever monies they have coming to them now. Right now you have no documented proof of wrongdoing by the trustee, but that undoubtedly will eventually become discovered and THEN the lawsuit can begin. If you file suit now you will only delay getting payed until the legal issues are resolved. In fairness to the trustee it takes a few months to administer the affairs of a large estate and this is one reason why it has taken so long.

    And you need to find out from your Florida attorney if legal fees for the trustee and/or yourself will be deducted from the trust, as well as finding out if the trust pays for an audit if the siblings request one.

    DANDY DON IN OKLAHOMA (tiekh@yahoo.com)
  12. #12
    seniorjudge is offline Senior Member
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    There was a will that was probated. The trust documents also state that no bond is required for the Trustee, though my lawyer says we can request a bond, anyway.

    True.




    As an additional update, my brother (co-trustee) suggested that the sibs NOT sign the release. He told my sister that it was unfair to make the distribution contingent upon signing it...and effectively extorting our agreement not to question her.

    I agree.




    SeniorJudge, I am going to talk this over with my attorney first thing tomorrow morning to begin a suit for the financial reporting, though I doubt he can do much from up here. It seems that I am once again in the market for a Florida attorney. Maybe this time I will be more lucky!

    You need a lawyer across the street from the courthouse where this will be heard.
    There are two rules for success:

    (1) Never tell everything you know.

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