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How can we get property back that has been awarded to my diseased husband's trust without notification to me?

This legal question related to Real estate attorneys in Utah has been answered.

Location: Utah  |  Law type: Real estate attorneys

This concerns my wife, Herminia Smith – she goes by Minnie.

Before they were married, my wife's diseased husband, Grant Hansen, owned a great deal of property in Duchene, UT.  After their marriage they built a home at 4972 W. Woodacre Rd, West Jordan, UT  84081, which they owned joint tenant.  In 2002 they wrote a Will in which the house was specifically left entirely to the survivor.  The property in Duchene was left entirely to the children Grant had from a previous marriage.  Grant died in 2003.  The Will was not probated when Grant died.

In April 2021 Minnie was visited by a lawyer, Deborah Stewart of Stewart, Kinikini, & Vieira PLLC, representing the Grant Hansen Trust.  She had two probate papers (both labeled Probate No. 153900986) with her that she said had to do with mineral and water rights with the Duchene properties.  She wanted Minnie to relinquish any claim she might have on them.  Since Minnie had already relinquished any rights to the Duchene properties, and since she trusted Deborah when she said they only had to do with the Duchene property, Minnie signed the papers.

Neither paper directly referenced Minnie’s house.  We later found they had used those two probate papers to generate a third probate paper with the same Probate No.  This Probate paper did specifically reference Minnie’s house.  Minnie was never shown this third Probate paper.

A few weeks ago, Minnie and I went to the Recorders Office to have the name on the title to the house changed from Hansen to Smith.  We were told that the Grant Trust had convinced a judge to move Minnie's property into the Grant Trust in August 2021, and that Minnie no longer owned her home.

We believe the Hansen Trust used the two Probate papers signed by Minnie, together with the third Probate paper they generated, plus an unprobated will dated March 5, 1982, to take advantage of Minnie’s trusting nature through deception and fraud.  They ignored the Will written in 2002, which should supersede the 1982 will.  We believe that Deborah Stewart performed an act of deception and fraud by having Minnie’s property placed into the Hansen Trust.

Is there anything you can do to help us? Thank You



Commonly posted questions...

3 months 1 week ago, Real estate attorneys, Alabama

Legal Solution

The response provided below is specific to Real estate attorneys in the jurisdiction of Utah. If the response is inadequate, please submit a detailed inquiry.

Understanding Potential Fraud and Property Transfer in Utah

Contextual Analysis:

The scenario described seems to present a potential case of property fraud or deceptive conduct in the state of Utah. Minnie, believing she was relinquishing rights to certain Duchene properties, might have inadvertently signed away rights to her home in West Jordan, UT. The subsequent actions and documents used by the Grant Hansen Trust and their legal representation may be suspect and could potentially constitute fraudulent behavior, especially if they knowingly disregarded the 2002 Will in favor of a 1982 Will.

Relevant Utah Laws:

  • Utah Code Ann. § 75-2-401: Intestate Estate.
  • Utah Code Ann. § 75-2-503: Antilapse; Deceased Devisee; Class Gifts.
  • Utah Code Ann. § 75-3-701: Time of accrual of duties and powers.

For a comprehensive list and detailed understanding of these laws, visit the Utah State Legislature's website.

Potential Solutions:

  1. Retain Legal Representation: First and foremost, Minnie should find the right lawyer specializing in property and estate disputes to represent her interests. Specifically, probate lawyers experienced with the Utah legal system would be ideal.
  2. Re-examine Probate Documents: Analyze all probate papers signed by Minnie, including any undisclosed or hidden documents. This will help ascertain any irregularities or deceptive practices.
  3. Review of Wills: Both the 1982 and 2002 Wills should be reviewed in detail to confirm their legitimacy and Minnie's rights. The 2002 Will should take precedence if valid.
  4. Legal Action: If Minnie's rights have been violated or if there's evidence of deception, consider initiating legal action against the Grant Hansen Trust and possibly the lawyer who presented the papers.

Costs Associated with Legal Services:

Service Type Average Price in Utah
Initial Consultation $150 - $400
Probate/Estate Dispute Representation $2,500 - $15,000
Title Dispute $3,000 - $10,000
Will Validation $1,500 - $5,000

Note: Prices can vary based on the complexity of the case, the reputation of the attorney, and the duration of the legal proceedings.

Seeking Further Clarification:

To better assist you, we need additional details on the probate papers and any communication or agreements made between Minnie and the Trust. It would also be helpful to know more about the Wills and any witnesses present when they were made. Ask a free legal question to delve deeper into this issue.

Relevant Questions:

  1. Were there any witnesses present when Minnie signed the probate papers?
  2. Have you or Minnie communicated with Deborah Stewart after discovering the property transfer?
  3. Were the two Wills drafted by the same attorney or different ones?

Commonly Asked Questions in Similar Situations:

How long does it take to contest a will in Utah?

The process can vary, but it usually takes several months to a few years, depending on the complexities and the number of parties involved.

Can a Trust be changed after someone's death?

Generally, irrevocable trusts cannot be changed after the grantor's death. However, there are exceptions, and specifics would need to be reviewed by an attorney.

What happens if a Will is found after assets have been distributed?

Assets might need to be redistributed, especially if the later found Will has differing terms. It can complicate the probate process.

Is it necessary to probate a Will in Utah?

Not all wills need to go through probate in Utah. However, if real estate is involved, probate becomes necessary.

Can I recover attorney's fees if I win a probate dispute?

In Utah, the prevailing party in a probate dispute may recover attorney's fees, but this is subject to the discretion of the court.


This content is for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. It's always recommended to consult with a local attorney about your specific situation.

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