Hello to all ! This is my first time here, and I am very desperate for some advice, guidance, help. Please bear with me. I will try to be as forthcoming as possible without writing a "novel". Please feel free to post questions as necessary. Here goes......I live in Alabama. My wife and I took care of my aunt, and she lived with us for the last three years of her life. We were all very close. My wife was the daugther she never had (my aunt was childless) It was very important to my aunt that we discuss her estate plans with her. we agreed with her about her plans which were to divide her estate 50/50 between my brother (he suffers from cerebal palsy & parkinson's. My wife and I now oversee his care) and myself. she wanted to set up a trust for my brother and make sure that that money was used for his care (my brother has other monies but she of course loved him as well and wanted what she left him to be used to care for him) My aunt, my brother, my wife, and myself were all in agreement on this. My aunt was a bright lady, but at 86, was a little dull with her memory. she asked that my wife and I meet with her and her attorney to facilitate the creation of her trust. When we all met to create the trust, my aunt told the attorney that she wanted my wife and myself with her while the trust was put together. the attorney told her "no, we would have to leave." Not knowing better, we thought we had to leave, so we did. We have since found out that while he may have been concerned with "undue influence", my aunt still had the right to have us with her.
After my aunt's death, at the reading of the trust, we found out that after 40% of her estate was given to the church (to prevent taxes?) the money for both myself and my brother were put into trust. We are the primary beneficiaries, and the church is the secondary beneficiary. The trust document says that we are to recieve the income. It also says that at the trustees descretion, they can invade principle for our health, maintinece and support. Now to the administration of the trust. The trustee says that before they give us any money for support, they have to consider "other income", because that is the "letter of the law", and besides that they need to take into consideration the secondary beneficary (??) I have had a trust prepared myself, and the question is posed, "if the primary beneficiaries die, who do you want the money to go to". The attorney does not mention that when the doc is in the hands of the trustee, they become boss in charge, not the settlor! BTY, the attorney that prepared the trust is the trustees paid attorney. Isn't that a conflict of interest ?
The result is that if my brother and I died today, the church would get everything with my brother and I only having gotten crumbs !!! NOT the way my aunt wanted it !! As far as I am concerned this is legal racketeering !
1. Does my aunt have the right to have who she wants with her when she prepares her trust ?
2. What is the "letter of the law" ?
3. What gives the trustee the right to manage a trust the way they want instead of the way the settlor wanted it done ?
Thank you for your help, advice, and support !