UPDATED: May 14, 2009

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UPDATED: May 14, 2009Fact Checked

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okay so my grandpa had a living trust and died. then my dad was getting his part of trust and died, a day before it would have went through to him. so now it’s in probate and my step-mom is mad cause she has to share now. what are our rights? does property include accounts and vehicles in both of their names? what about personal property of value that was his. doesn’t it need to be accounted for? what if she doesn’t include it. she wants all the cash an undetermined amount after probate and wants to give us (kids) the real property which supposedly is valued more than cash.

Asked on May 14, 2009 under Estate Planning, California


L.M., Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

First, your grandfather's death and his living trust, and your father's death and his assets, are two separate issues.  When someone has a living trust and one of the beneficiaries of the trust dies prior to distribution, that beneficiary's share goes either to an alternate beneficiary as set out in the trust document, or gets split among the other beneficiaries if there is no alternate beneficiary named.  You don't indicate whether or not your father had a will or a trust with his assets.  If he had a will, his assets would be distributed according to the terms of the will after probate proceedings.  If he had a trust, all is distributed according to the trust without probate.  If there is no will and no trust, it is not up to your step-mom but up to the court to determine in the probate process who gets what according to state law.  Your family needs to get some help from an attorney to handle these two matters.

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