Are revoked trust assets the property of the sstate or the surviving spouse?

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Are revoked trust assets the property of the sstate or the surviving spouse?

My stepmom revoked a joint revocable living trust 1 year after my father’s death and never notified the beneficiaries of the trust at any time (including when or why she revoked after death). Since my father’s death 2.5 years ago, I had been requesting a copy of the trust from the executor (stepmom’s son from a previous marriage) and from stepmom. Neither responded. I’m still objecting to estate matters in probate court. Are the former trust assets now owned by the estate or are they owned by the stepmom? The house that was in the trust is up for sale by the stepmom, not the estate.

Asked on August 12, 2010 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am sorry for your troubles.  You do indeed need to see a copy of the trust agreement.  Generally, a trust may be revoked if  it is done in writing and must be dated unless the trust agreement allows for an alternative method.  If the trust is revoked the assets must be taken out of the name of the trust and back in to the name of the grantor.  So if it was done correctly here then they would have been transferred back in to your Stepmom's name and she would be selling it individually.  But you REALLY need to see how the trust is written to answer any of your questions. If the assets transferred to her after your Father's death that will matter.  Hopefully you have an attorney helping you to navigate through these waters.  Good luck.


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