Five Rights That Trust Beneficiaries Have
If you are a “current” beneficiary of a trust and you are not also the Trustee, it may feel like you are at the mercy of the Trustee.
If the Trust is “revocable”, trust beneficiaries other than the settlor have very few rights. State law and the terms of the trust determine exactly what rights a beneficiary has, but there are five common rights given to beneficiaries of irrevocable trusts.
Payment. Current beneficiaries have the right to distribution as set forth in the trust document.
Information. Current and remainder beneficiaries have the right to be provided enough information about the trust and its administration to know how to enforce their rights.
An accounting. Current beneficiaries are entitled to an accounting. An accounting is a detailed report of all income, expenses and distribution from the trust. Typically, trustees are required to provide an accounting annually, but that may vary, depending on the terms of the trust. Beneficiaries may also be able to waive the accounting.
Removal of the Trustee. Current and remainder beneficiaries have the right to petition a court for the removal of the trustee if they believe the trustee isn’t acting in their best interests. Trustees have an obligation to balance the needs of the current beneficiary with the needs of the remainder beneficiaries, which can be difficult to manage.
Ending the Trust. In some circumstances if all the current and remainder beneficiaries agree, they can petition a court to end the trust. State laws vary on when this is allowed.
Ms. MacDonald’s practice is limited to Estate Planning, Probate & Trust Administration. Ms. MacDonald maintains her practice in the Santa Clarita Valley at 25115 Avenue Stanford, Suite A-209, Valencia, California. She can be reached at 661-294-6464.
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