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Widow and bank at odds over management of trust

Helping someone through their final days in Woodland Hills can be a monumental task. The difficulty of such an endeavor may be what makes it understandable why so many seem to favor those that they are closest to during their twilight years in their estate planning. However, others who might otherwise be party to an estate may view their interests as being impacted by the actions of those who were consistently around a decedent until his or her end. That impact may could lead to accusations of undue influence.

Such is the claim being made by a Florida woman seeking to wrest control of the trusts set up by her late estranged husband from the bank currently serving as trustee. While the trust provides her with an annual $800,000 income, outsiders may view her as essentially being disinherited along with her daughter and the decedent's other children (all of whom with which he had no relationship towards the end of his life).

The man did end up leaving left $2.3 million to his ranch manager, farm hand and caretaker, along with assets totaling $1.3 million to his longtime friend. In contrast, he left each of his daughters $1 million, and only $100,000 to his stepdaughter. His estranged wife is set to continue to receive income from the trust up until her death, at which time the entirety of the estate’s assets would pass to a community trust to support various charities. She is now arguing that the bank managing his trust should be stripped of its role as trustee, alleging that its managers persuaded the decedent to take control of the trust away from her.

Those looking to either validate or invalidate one’s final wishes may wish to secure the services of an attorney to assist in doing so.

Source: Orlando Sentinel “Battle over $43 million estate explodes in vitriol” Ritchie, Lauren, July 28, 2017

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