What to do about assets held in Trust?

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What to do about assets held in Trust?

My father passed away 10 years ago. My siblings and I were told by my stepmother that there was no Will. 4 years later, she said there was a will and had no recollection of stating there was no Will. The house my father owned outright, prior to their marriage, is listed on the town assessors database as “fathers name trust”. The information is updated as of 1 1/2 years ago. My siblings and I have not been notified about trust or beneficiaries. If the house is still listed in trust in my fathers name, does this mean that my stepmother does not own the house or have the ability to sell it? If she was sole beneficiary of the house, wouldn’t it transfer to her name? I have asked for a copy of the Will and she claims to have to look for it.

Asked on October 25, 2012 under Estate Planning, Massachusetts

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for the situation as it stands.  I think that your first step is to check and see if a probate file has been opened for your father's estate.  It would be open in the county in which he resided at the time of his death.  If there is none then what you need to do is hve some one appointed as the Personal Representative of his estate. That will give you great power under the law.  You should also check the records filed in the county clerk's office for the property.  There may be a copy of the trust document there. Once you know about what is filed where you need to speak with an attorney about the matter.  I think that your intuitions are on the right track but you need to see what is out there before you can act.  Good luck. 


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