What is the name of your state? CA
My father and stepmother were married in Calif. They were married 18 years. He has his house (the one I grew up in) in CA. She has hers in Texas. They'd live 6 months here, 6 months there. They have a living trust in CA. Both houses are listed as community property (not separated under A or B).When one of them dies the trust is to be split into a decedent's trust and a survivor's trust. The trust states that if my father dies first and my stepmother sells the Calif. house, that half of the proceeds go into the decedent's trust with myself and my sister named as beneficiaries, to receive the principal when our stepmother dies. The other half goes to the survivor's trust. Now the problem: My father died two weeks ago in CA. My stepmother put the Calif. house up for sale and a buyer signed papers the next day, thus it is now in escrow (not sure how long of an escrow). She refuses to do anything with the trust because she truly believes she doesn't have to do anything. She believes that my father left her everything and she can do whatever she wants with the money from the sale. She says my sister and I can have whatever is left when she dies (and she is a spendaholic!). She plans to pay off a second mortgage, credit card bills, and two car loans, as well as do major re-modeling on her home in Texas. I know she is not supposed to pay off debts from the money in the decedent's trust. She will not listen to me. In fact when I mentioned the need to split the trust into two or three subtrusts she hung up on me and will not take my calls anymore. She has "disinherited" me. I did leave a message with her estate attorney two days ago asking her to contact my stepmother. I don't know if she will. She has all of the house's belongings packed in a large trailer and she is ready to move to Texas as soon as the house is sold.
My questions are: Should I obtain an attorney to stop the sale of the house and force her (legally) to set up the subtrusts? If so do I retain one in the county (San Mateo) where the house is located? Or where I live three hours away in Tuolumne County? Does my sister (in another county) also need an attorney, and if so, a separate one or can we both use the same one? My fear is that without legal action my stepmother is going to get the money and disappear in Texas and my sister and I will never see a dime. I know my father did not plan it that way. I guess I need to know how quickly I need to act. Also, should I let the real estate agent know of possible problems? Any advice is appreciated. Thank You!!