Giving Mom The Boot

1 Mar

Metro®Boston, Publication Date: February 29, 2012
By: George Warshaw

You may have read about the loving son who filed to evict his 98 year old mother from the home she once owned.

Mrs. Kantorowski deeded her home to her son several years ago. Though he wants to move her to a facility that will better care for her, she doesn’t want to go. Perhaps if he wasn’t trying to sell the house, his motives might have better credibility.

Mrs. K has one thing on her side. She didn’t deed the house directly to her son; she deeded it to him as trustee of a trust for her benefit.

A trustee owes the beneficiaries very special obligations, in this case, mom. It’s called “fiduciary obligations”. It’s a very high standard that courts impose on trustees to act in the best interests of those whose money and property they’re holding in trust.

There’s a rule in trusts against “self-dealing,” meaning a trustee can’t use trust property for his personal benefit, unless the terms of the trust permit it. While a trustee may receive a fee for services, he can’t sell the house and pocket the money – or so mom hopes.

So when mom goes to court next month, we’ll see who gets the boot!

More on this Next Week. © 2012 George Warshaw.

George Warshaw is a real estate attorney and author. He represents buyers and sellers of homes and condos in Massachusetts, and prepares wills, trusts, and estate plans. George welcomes new clients and questions at metro@warshawlaw.com.

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Legal Advice: Laws, and court decisions interpreting them, change frequently and this article is not updated as laws change. The content and information contained in this article is neither intended as legal advice nor shall establish an attorney-client relationship.

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