i was written out of a trust

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i was written out of a trust

A family member died recently and their trust was settled. Although I had been in the original trust, I found out I had been written out shortly after my wife died. she was an administrator ? of the trust along with my brother in law. My wife’s role in the trust was replaced by my sister in law. That was when I was written out. What are my options ?

Asked on April 28, 2017 under Estate Planning, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you were written out by someone with the legal authority or right to change the terms of the trust, you have no recourse: trusts (and also wills) may be changed so long as they are done so by the person(s) with the legal power to do so, subject, however, to the following: 
1) If the person making the change was not mentally competent when they did, the change is not valid;
2) If the person was threatened or coerced into making the change, it is not valid; or 
3) If the person who made the change was tricked into it ("fraud") in some way, it would not be valid.
If you think that 1) - 3) applied, you could challenge the change with a lawsuit in chancery court to enforce the original terms of the trust. Or, you could sue if 4) you believe that the change was not done by someone with authority--or that there was no circumstance under which the terms of the trust could have changed (e.g. it was an irrevocable trust). In this case, too, you could bring a legal action to enforce the original terms.
So if you think that one or another of the above-referenced problems exist with this change, you should speak with an attorney about your legal options (e.g. about bringing a lawsuit).


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