Confounding legal trust situation
February 15, 2023 7:45 AM   Subscribe

My stepmother (RIP) was 47% partner of a trust created by her father in the 1970’s The managing partner stopped filing K1 reports about 8 years ago.

Another partner moved to the Bahamas and brought a bunch of the legal paperwork with them.

As part of a resolution one of the partners has gotten all partners to sign a letter of dissolution. There is massive distrust and possible legal wrong doings by some of the partners, though that is all my supposition.

The lawyer responsible seems to be dragging his feet on making the trust complete in order to dissolve.

The wealth management bank that acts as fiduciary claims no responsibility on managing the legal end of the partnership and making it whole.

The trust was created in Ohio in the 1970’s, the rest of the characters are from Magnolia, AK were the current lawyer is based.

I live in Maine.

Is there anything that be done to try and expedite and finalize this process short of replacing the current lawyer, which would require finding someone in Ohio (I guess?) where we (the current beneficiaries) have no base.

I am sure I don’t have this all well noted, everyone agrees it is a total mess and I am just trying to help get to the finish line.
posted by silsurf to Law & Government (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Your stepmother needs her own lawyer, yesterday.
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:18 AM on February 15

The OP's stepmother is deceased.
posted by virago at 10:27 AM on February 15

Response by poster: I realize I was not clear. My stepmother is deceased. I am the beneficiary of her estate, probate is closed.
posted by silsurf at 10:40 AM on February 15

The question is confusing. Was this a trust or a partnership? What does the instrument creating it say about how (whatever it is) is to be terminated? What does "making the trust complete?" If "all partners" have signed a letter, who signed for the 47% interest?
posted by yclipse at 10:42 AM on February 15

Response by poster: It is a partnership that is governed by a trust. I signed as the 47% partner. The trust documents does not state anything about termination. It was decided (reluctantly) by all partners that dissolution is the best solution to issues regarding proper maintenance. Making whole is what everyone keeps using as a name for reconciling the 8 years of no K1 filings. Which means 8 years of no one (at least not my 47%) being paid out.

Everyone finds the situation confusing
posted by silsurf at 11:23 AM on February 15

Most partnerships are governed by the law of the state where they were created. Same with trusts. You may benefit from consulting an attorney in both states.
posted by yclipse at 11:29 AM on February 15

Response by poster: Thanks, I have no connections in either state, but understand that is really thing to do.
posted by silsurf at 11:41 AM on February 15

If you believe you are owed a significant amount of money on account of your interest, you need your own lawyer who does not represent the partnership/trust/other players. Going along with the lawyer who is connected to the people who may have done the wrongdoing seems like a bad plan. Hiring your own lawyer would help expedite this if you think the adverse parties are dragging their feet. If there are other beneficiaries in the same position as you, you might be able to share costs and share a lawyer, but only if your interests are aligned.
posted by Mid at 11:48 AM on February 15 [5 favorites]

You could start out with a lawyer local to you to at least get your arms around the situation. That lawyer could write letters and demand action, etc. They don't need to be in a particular state to do that. If it came to filing a lawsuit, the state would be more relevant, but ideally you would resolve this short of that.
posted by Mid at 11:52 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone
posted by silsurf at 11:59 AM on February 15

Seconding what Mid just said. I'll just add that if all parties to the agreement(s) do agree that dissolution is the best idea, you are most of the way there. You just need 1 lawyer to draft agreement(s), which will be then be signed by all parties simultaneously with distributing all the assets. Apparently you already have a signed agreement. Have you tried phoning the Alaska lawyer and asking them to explain things a little better? Who made the Alaska lawyer responsible? Who is paying the Alaska lawyer? Are you able to get that person on the phone?

That said, the question doesn't say what the assets are. If it's an office building, for example, it may be difficult for the parties to agree on how it will be managed, or sold. As Mid said, unless the dissolution is simple (and it may well be simple if only documents and liquid assets are involved), each party needs their own lawyer. Start with a trusted local lawyer to advise you as Mid suggested.

Minor points: Your phrase "making the trust complete" doesn't sound like anything I've ever heard. Someone being "made whole" usually means someone is recovering money that they're owed.
posted by JimN2TAW at 2:57 PM on February 15

(I'm guessing Magnolia, Alabama---there is no Magnolia, Alaska. At least they lawyer would be in the same time zone as you are...)
posted by leahwrenn at 3:41 PM on February 15

I meant to say what Mid said, too (despite totally missing that your stepmom had already passed).

It's still kind of hard to suss out what has happened here from what you've said, but I'm thinking since you said 'made whole' after 'made complete' then 'made whole' is actually what you've been hearing.

The rest is still kind of a morass, for reasons that get technical (in part due to the parties being scattered to the winds).

I can't tell if "either state" implies that an AK or AL partnership was created to manage an OH trust, or just referring to where everyone is. (In which case the Bahamas is the bigger potential problem.)

But in any event then if it's an Ohio trust, I would start with an Ohio lawyer. Trust litigation generally has to happen in state court. Try 'trust dispute litigator' in Cincinnatti or Columbus. Firms that also advertise business litigation would be good candidates.
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:40 PM on February 15

« Older Improve my home recording / jamming audio /...   |   How can I make my team's forecasting more... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments