Don’t Sit on Your Rights: 5 Rights you Have as a Beneficiary
Revocable Trusts have become more common over the last 40 years (click here to learn more about Estate Plans), and when the grantor dies (the person who created the trust), their trust becomes irrevocable. This is when YOUR rights as beneficiaries kick in.
Being a beneficiary does not mean you simply have to sit back and wait.
5 Rights YOU May Have as a Beneficiary:
Right #1: Right to Information. Beneficiaries have the right to all information related to the trust. This may include bank account statements, investment portfolios, documents related to the sale of assets, and more.
Right #2: Right to an Accounting. An accounting is often different from general information provided by a trustee. A request for general information can be satisfied by documents the trustee forwards you and requires no analysis or explanation of the trustee’s actions. An accounting is a detailed report itemizing how all assets have been managed and/or spent during a certain time or the life of the trust.
Right #3: Remove the Trustee. Trustees are held to an extremely high legal standard when managing trust assets. Part of a trustee’s duty is to comply with the terms of the trust. Unfortunately, trustees can breach their duties, steal trust assets, lie to beneficiaries, and refuse to comply with trust terms. You should act immediately if you are a beneficiary if you have reason to believe a trustee is not complying with the terms of the trust. Your inheritance can be extremely difficult to get back once a Trustee inappropriately spends it.
Right #4: End the Trust. It may make sense to end a trust in certain circumstances. Sometimes this happens when all beneficiaries agree the trusts stated purposes have been accomplished, or when the remaining assets in the trust are not large enough to justify the expense of maintaining the trust.
Right #5: Payment and Distribution. This is what you have been waiting for! You are entitled to payment and/or distribution of property as a beneficiary, and this is significantly more likely to happen if you diligently protected your rights as a beneficiary discussed above. We have far too many clients who failed to act, assuming they would eventually receive assets owed to them, but later found out the Trustee inappropriately spent their money or transferred their property.
***It’s important to remember all the above rights must be reviewed and considered based on your specific trust document and your state’s laws.
We’re pleased to schedule a free consultation at our offices to review your rights as a beneficiary and review your trust documents. Contact us at 405-753-1504 to schedule your appointment today!
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