Elderly Mom as sole trustee of her Trust.

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Elderly Mom as sole trustee of her Trust.

My 86-year old mother was advised to set up a Trust 13 years ago, naming her as sole trustee. She did so and signed warranty deeds of her real estate holdings into the Trust. Now, her health and mental abilities are noticeably diminishing. We are concerned that trouble be ahead with the good-sized estate. Is this Trust a wise decision now? Should there be other Trustees? Also, she owns farmland in a county that she formerly resided. The County Recorder has the original purchase deed from 44 years ago but has no documentation of the warranty deed from herself into the Trust. Should the Trust deed be recorded immediately? We will be selling the land upon her death. Is there going to be a title problem?

Asked on March 5, 2018 under Estate Planning, Minnesota

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

It is difficult without reading the document to say if it was a good idea or not.  Obviously it was the fruit of estate planning, which is always wise to look in to with a sizeable estate.  While her mental abilities are still in tact and she is able to understand, you should take her and the Trust to an attorney to review. Ask about an addendum appointing a successor trustee and ask about what is called a "pour over" Will that allows any asset not placed in to the trust thus far to be placed in there upon her death. You need to file the new deeds naming the Trust so if one does not exist for that particular piece of property again, make sure that is also done.  If an asset is not in the Trust and remanins an asset for probate, a Will would govern and in absense of a Will, the intestacy statute of the state.  Good luck.


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