Can I have a trust revoked?

Iddawg asked...

The house was in my name and my sister's. She passed and left her half of the house that Mom and I currently reside in a Trust.

Is it possible to break the trust? How do I go about doing it?

I am Mom's sole caretaker and when I found out that the house was place in a Trust I told my niece that I wanted sole possession of the house and she told me that the property was going to remain as is in the Trust.

She has never been to see Mom and does not seem interested in contributing to her in any way shape or form or fashion.

Expert Answer

Steve Weisman hosts the nationally syndicated radio show A Touch of Grey, heard on more than 50 stations, including WABC in New York City and KRLA in Los Angeles. He is a practicing lawyer specializing in estate planning and is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. He's a public speaker and commentator who has appeared on many radio and television shows throughout the country, and he's the legal editor of Talkers magazine, the preeminent trade publication of talk radio. His latest book is The Truth About Avoiding Scams.

There are different ways to co-own property. From you question, it appears that you and your sister owned the home as tenants in common which means that if one of you died, his or her share would pass to that person's probate estate. If your sister left her share to a trust, the terms of her trust would control the ownership of your sister's half interest. As a co-owner of the property, you have the right to live in the home without paying rent. Your sister's trust can be held responsible for some carrying costs of the property, such as real estate taxes. You need to know the terms of the trust. This is obviously quite complicated.

As for "breaking" the trust, it would be extremely difficult and costly to do. In addition, it would not necessarily improve your situation because if the home were held by you and your sister as tenants in common, her share would just pass to her estate to be distributed in accordance with the terms of her Will.

I suggest that you contact a lawyer to review the trust and discuss with you what your options are.