Can a Trustee gift himself from the Trust assets?

Dear Ms. Allison: Can a Trustee gift property to himself as both Grantor and Grantee if this property wasn’t a gift in the Will but was just an inheritance? It is just two weeks after the death of the original Grantor. KB in Northeastern Oklahoma

Dear KB:

A Trust’s provisions are rarely, if ever, the same as the provisions of a person’s Will.

Wills only control the property of a decedent when the property is still in the decedent’s name (and no one else’s) or if the property is otherwise made “payable to the estate” of the decedent.

Trusts, on the other hand, only control property titled to (in, or under the control of) the trust or otherwise made payable to it. The trustee of such a Trust can only distribute property that is in that Trust and then—only if the Trust language directs the trustee to do it.

You need a copy of the Trust to know if the property was in the Trust and what, if anything, the Trust instructed the trustee to do with it. A copy of the Will would be useful if the property is not in the Trust…

To your success, Gale Allison, Estate Attorney

*Originally published in March 2017 in the Gale Allison, PLLC website Asked & Answered blog based on questions from the public. Tags: No Will, Intestate, Property transfer, and Probate. Gale Allison handles estate matters only: Probate, Estate or Trust Administration; Estate Litigation; Estate Planning; Business Succession Planning; and Estate-related Tax Issues in Tulsa, OK. She also mediates Estate and Family disputes nationally, exclusively through Dispute Resolution Consultants (DRC-OK).

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Gale Allison, JD, LLM, AEP®

Licensed since 1976

Member at firm Gale Allison, PLLC

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Gale Allison, JD, LLM, AEP®

Licensed since 1976

Member at firm Gale Allison, PLLC

AWARDS

AV Preeminent

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