What rights does my sister have as successor trustee?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What rights does my sister have as successor trustee?

My mother passed away last week and so now my sister becomes the successor trustee and is also a beneficiary along with my brother and myself. Everything is to be divided equally amongst all 3 of us. My sister has her own home to live in but my brother has lived at home his whole life and after 36 years of marriage I moved in with my mom 5 years ago. My mom has kept a lock on her bedroom door since my father passed 10 years ago. She dresses in there, keeps paperwork and whatever else in there, who know? Does my sister have the right to tell us not to go in there? Does she have the right to go in there? Does she have the right to want to exclude my brother and only her and I go in there?

Asked on December 15, 2018 under Estate Planning, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If the home is owned by a family trust, then as the trustee, your sister hs the right to control the property. That means that she can tell both of you to not go into that locked room, or to go in with one of you but not the other, etc. Think of the trustee as being like the manager of a business: they are in charge of the business's propety and assets.

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