If there are 2 legal documents regarding the distribution of property but they differ, which one controls?

UPDATED: May 27, 2011

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: May 27, 2011Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

If there are 2 legal documents regarding the distribution of property but they differ, which one controls?

Deed is in 2 sisters’ names with mother retaining a life estate. Daughters share equally. Trust gives 1 daughter an additional 1/4 share of the value of the house. Which document rules – the deed or the trust?

Asked on May 27, 2011 under Estate Planning, New York


S.J.H., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If the Deed has been filed, the deed rules.  A trust document only defines the trustees assets and explains what happens after the trustee passes on. Based on your question it appears that mom is still alive and has a life estate in the premises. The trust only comes into account when she dies and her assets need to be divided in accordance with the trust. Once she executed the deed. and it is filed, mom loses ownership of the house and thus the trust does not control that asset anymore. If the deed is not yet filed at the time of her death, then there will be a question of whether it is an asset of mom and at that point,m the trust would superceded.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption