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  1. #1
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    Jul 2020
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    Default Life Tenancy Termination

    My question involves estate proceedings in the state of: Pennsylvania.
    My father passed in 2019. His home was in an irrevocable trust in my name, to be inherited by my two bothers and me. His will stipulated that his girlfriend could live at the home until death if a number of conditions were met, including paying taxes, etc unless she was out of the home for 6 months for whatever reason. She has not lived at the home for a year, has not been maintaining it, refused to pay home owners insurance on it and will likely not pay the taxes this year (the estate paid them last year). She also will not sign a quitclaim. We have a buyer for the property and would like to get out from under this burden. What can we do? Does this have to go to court?

  2. #2
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    Oct 2014
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    Default Re: Life Tenancy Termination

    Quote Quoting cuffjones
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    My question involves estate proceedings in the state of: Pennsylvania.
    My father passed in 2019. His home was in an irrevocable trust in my name, to be inherited by my two bothers and me. His will stipulated that his girlfriend could live at the home until death if a number of conditions were met, including paying taxes, etc unless she was out of the home for 6 months for whatever reason. She has not lived at the home for a year, has not been maintaining it, refused to pay home owners insurance on it and will likely not pay the taxes this year (the estate paid them last year). She also will not sign a quitclaim. We have a buyer for the property and would like to get out from under this burden. What can we do? Does this have to go to court?
    A trust and a will are two different things. If the home is owned entirely by the trust then it would not be necessary for his girlfriend to sign off on anything because the trustee would have the power to convey the entirety of the property to the seller. So let's clarify exactly what happened. Was this a situation where his will both (1) gave the girlfriend a life estate in the property and (2) put the remainder interest in the property into a trust for you and your brothers? Or did the trust exist before your father died?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Life Tenancy Termination

    Yes, the trust existed before he died (and before this version of his will) however the trust expired when he died. In his will he left the property to my brothers and me.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Life Tenancy Termination

    Quote Quoting cuffjones
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    Yes, the trust existed before he died (and before this version of his will) however the trust expired when he died. In his will he left the property to my brothers and me.
    Trusts don't normally expire when the grantor dies. Often they are revocable before the grantor dies and become irrevocable after they die. If the home was deeded in the name of the trust then the trust would control what happens to the house, not your father's will. I think that you need to take all of the paperwork (trust and will) and get yourself a consult with a probate attorney.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Life Tenancy Termination

    The irrevocable trust document says that it expires when he dies and reverts to the will, however, the property is in the name of the trust. But suppose there was no trust, how do you evict someone's stuff when they're no longer eligible to be there, according to the terms of the will?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Life Tenancy Termination

    Quote Quoting cuffjones
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    The irrevocable trust document says that it expires when he dies and reverts to the will, however, the property is in the name of the trust. But suppose there was no trust, how do you evict someone's stuff when they're no longer eligible to be there, according to the terms of the will?
    You get a lawyer and go to court. I don't believe you are understanding what the trust document is saying.

  7. #7
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    Jul 2018
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    Default Re: Life Tenancy Termination

    Quote Quoting cuffjones
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    My father passed in 2019. His home was in an irrevocable trust in my name, to be inherited by my two bothers and me.
    If you and your brothers were to "inherit" the home, what does your statement that the trust was/is "in [your] name" mean?


    Quote Quoting cuffjones
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    His will stipulated that his girlfriend could live at the home until death if a number of conditions were met
    Well...ok. However, if, as you told us, the "home was in an irrevocable trust," his will is meaningless in this regard. The will only governs the disposition of his probate estate, which does not include any property held in trust. Does the trust also contain this provision?


    Quote Quoting cuffjones
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    She also will not sign a quitclaim.
    What would be the purpose of her doing that?


    Quote Quoting cuffjones
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    What can we do? Does this have to go to court?
    I'll take the second question first. Nothing in your post indicates any need for anything to go to court. However, depending on how you answer the questions I've asked above, my answer may change. As for the first question, if you are the trustee or a co-trustee of the trust and don't know how to properly discharge your duties, you should hire an attorney to advise and assist you.

    Quote Quoting cuffjones
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    the trust expired when he died.
    That doesn't make any sense. Trusts don't simply "expire." Did you mean that the terms of the trust provide that, upon your father's death, the assets of the trust pass to his probate estate for disposition pursuant to the will? That would be really odd.

    Quote Quoting cuffjones
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    how do you evict someone's stuff
    You don't. You can evict people but not "stuff." If a person has abandoned his/her property, then there are laws governing the disposition of the property. You can google "pennsylvania abandoned property law" for more information. Typically a written notice is required and, if the owner of the property doesn't claim it after some period of time (30 days is common), then the person in possession of the property can dispose of the property.

    Again, if you're the/a trustee of the trust, you need to seek advice from a local attorney.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
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    Default Re: Life Tenancy Termination

    That doesn't make any sense. Trusts don't simply "expire." Did you mean that the terms of the trust provide that, upon your father's death, the assets of the trust pass to his probate estate for disposition pursuant to the will? That would be really odd.
    That's literally it. "This trust terminates upon the death of the Settlor. After death, this trust shall terminate and all the trust possessions shall be distributed in accordance to the terms and conditions of the Settlor's last will and testament."

    Also, I'm the trustee, but not the executor of the Will. That would be the girlfriend who won't leave the house. We do have an estate attorney, who has been very helpful but feels he ultimately represents the executor, not the three beneficiaries of the will.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Default Re: Life Tenancy Termination

    Quote Quoting cuffjones
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    That doesn't make any sense. Trusts don't simply "expire." Did you mean that the terms of the trust provide that, upon your father's death, the assets of the trust pass to his probate estate for disposition pursuant to the will? That would be really odd.
    That's literally it. "This trust terminates upon the death of the Settlor. After death, this trust shall terminate and all the trust possessions shall be distributed in accordance to the terms and conditions of the Settlor's last will and testament."

    Also, I'm the trustee, but not the executor of the Will. That would be the girlfriend who won't leave the house. We do have an estate attorney, who has been very helpful but feels he ultimately represents the executor, not the three beneficiaries of the will.
    Then the three beneficiaries probably need to hire a different attorney.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
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    Default Re: Life Tenancy Termination

    Thanks, I was hoping to avoid that but you're probably right.

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