If my cousin is the power of attorney and executor of my dad’s trust does he inherit everything?

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If my cousin is the power of attorney and executor of my dad’s trust does he inherit everything?

My dad had my cousin as executor and
power of attorney for his trust does
that mean he inherits everything from
my dad?

Asked on July 28, 2016 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

A power of attorney has no effect on inheritance: the power of attorney ends the instant the principal (the person making it) dies, and so does not influence what happens to that person's assets after death. As to being the "executor" of a trust (you seem to be confusing terms, by the way: an executor carries out a will; the person who manages a trust is called a trustee), he is obligated to carry out the instructions of the trust--he has to distribute the money, assets, etc. in it in accordance with the policies, rules, instructions, etc. your father laid out in creating the trust. If he is not following your father's instructions, you may bring a legal action in chancery court (which is a division or part of county court) seeking to require him to "account" for his actions as executor or trustee. If he has violated the instructions/directions of the trust or a will, the court can order him to stop doing so and to return any amounts he improperly took. This type of legal action can be procedurally complex; you would be well-advised to retain an attorney to help you.


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