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    Trust Beneficiary Rights

    What are your rights as a beneficiary of a trust? Can a beneficiary sue a trustee? Can a trustee be removed? Click to learn all there is to know about your living trust beneficiary rights.

    Last Updated: Apr 07, 2022

    Trust Beneficiary Rights | Can a Beneficiary Sue a Trustee?

    As a beneficiary of a trust, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to sit idly by while administration takes place. While, in theory, trust beneficiaries should receive the inheritance they were left without having to do anything, a lot can go wrong between the time the grantor dies and the time trust distributions are made, which is why it’s important for trust beneficiaries to learn their rights and enforce them at every stage of the process. By doing so, trust beneficiaries can rest assured that they will ultimately be provided the inheritance they’re due.

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    What Is a Trust Beneficiary?

    When executing a trust, the grantor (i.e., the creator of the trust) designates a trustee to manage the trust and beneficiaries to inherit from the trust. Trust beneficiaries are the persons for whom trusts are created.

    In a typical living trust, it is standard for grantors to designate themselves as the initial trustee and beneficiary of their trust. When the grantor becomes incapacitated or dies, the person they designated as the successor trustee will take over management of the trust.

    Most living trusts automatically become irrevocable upon the grantor’s death, so if you were included as a beneficiary of a trust when the grantor died, you will remain a beneficiary of the trust. One of the main exceptions to this rule is where a trust is invalidated through a trust contest.

    Trustees are required to distribute to trust beneficiaries the inheritances they were left once the trust is settled. Depending on the terms of the trust, distributions can be in the form of the transfer of a specific asset, a lump sum cash payment or periodic payments made over time. If the grantor left a will instead of a trust, or died without a will or a trust, you may have rights as an estate beneficiary rather than as a trust beneficiary.


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    Understanding the Trust Administration Process

    The trustee of the trust is the person who has been designated by the grantor to spearhead the trust administration process, which entails everything from taking an inventory of trust property to settling the trust’s debts and making trust distributions to the beneficiaries of the trust. Trust administration, unlike estate administration, is not supervised by the court, although the court can be utilized if trust-related disputes arise along the way.

    It is important for trust beneficiaries to remember that trustees have a fiduciary duty to act in their best interests at all times; if a trustee fails to do so, they are entitled to bring a claim against the trustee.

    As a Beneficiary of a Trust, What Are My Living Trust Beneficiary Rights?

    If you are the beneficiary of a trust, you are on the right track if you’re asking: What rights does a trust beneficiary have against a trustee? During administration, you will be dealing either mostly or exclusively with the trustee, so you should familiarize yourself with the ways in which trustees can breach their duties. When a breach is committed, it is essential trust beneficiaries take the necessary steps to enforce their living trust beneficiary rights.

    While the right to petition the court to have the trustee removed is important, especially in instances where the trustee has financially harmed the trust, there are other trust beneficiary rights that can be exercised before resorting to an extreme measure like removal.

    Trust beneficiary rights include:

    The right to a copy of the trust document

    The right to be kept reasonably informed about the trust and its administration

    The right to an accounting

    The right to challenge an accounting

    The right to be treated impartially by the trustee

    The right to receive timely distributions from the trust

    The right to petition the court to have the trustee suspended and surcharged

    It is important for trust beneficiaries to keep in mind that a trustee is a fiduciary, which means that it is the trustee’s job to always consider and act in the trust beneficiaries’ best interests. Trustees are required to remain impartial (i.e., they cannot favor one trust beneficiary over another), and they have a duty of loyalty as well. If a trustee prioritizes their personal interests over those of the trust beneficiaries, they will have committed a breach of their fiduciary duties, giving trust beneficiaries cause to potentially remove and surcharge them.

    A central aspect of a trustee’s job is providing trust beneficiaries with the information they need about the trust (e.g., the trust’s worth, the assets coming into the trust and leaving it) to enforce their trust beneficiary rights. Since it is their duty, trustees should make it a point to communicate regularly with trust beneficiaries and supply them with periodic trust accountings.

    If trustees fail to diligently fulfill their responsibilities to trust beneficiaries, beneficiaries can utilize the courts to try to compel the trustee to meet the requirements of their role. If the problems with a trustee cannot be resolved, trust beneficiaries can consult with a trust lawyer to determine whether removal is a viable remedy.

    Source : keystone-law.com

    Who Has More Right A Trustee Or The Beneficiary. What You Should Know!

    Learn the rights for the Trustee and Beneficiaries and how you can lose your rights! Responding too late can lose all your rights. Protect your rights!

    Trustee vs. Beneficiary

    Trust Beneficiary Rights and Trustee Rights


    Who has more Right, a Trustee or the Beneficiary?

    The trust document explicitly addresses how the estate is divided, with the beneficiaries inheriting the trust inheritance. The beneficiary can exercise their ultimate rights and be reasonable when approaching the Trustee to request an accounting or status of assets.

    Trustee vs. Beneficiary

    A Trustee is a person or persons designated by trust instruments to distribute the estate assets to the trust beneficiaries. A beneficiary is an individual or entity who will receive the trust assets once the Trustee fulfills their fiduciary obligation to the Trustor.


    Who has more right, a Trustee or the Beneficiary?

    Who has more right, a Trustee or the Beneficiary? Trust Beneficiary Rights

    When it comes to the rights of the Trustee and Beneficiary, one must consider the advantages and disadvantages of each party as determined by the trust document.

    The Trustee, who may also be a beneficiary, has the rights to the assets and a fiduciary duty to maintain. If not done correctly, it can lead to a contesting of the Trust.

    On the other hand, the beneficiary must show reasonableness in their requests to the Trustee. There are timetables that each party must adhere to if they want to maintain their legal standings in California.

    Who has more right, a Trustee or the Beneficiary?

    With that said, let’s go over the “rights” of a Trustee and, afterward, the “rights” of the Trust beneficiaries and the options to lose your rights should you act in an untimely manner!

    Trust Beneficiary Rights

    In a Trustee Beneficiary relationship, the beneficiary rights to information in a Trust are as follows:

    The Trustee should provide a copy of the Trust to the trust beneficiary. (Beneficiary Rights to Information) Trust beneficiary rights are paramount to maintain, and receiving a copy of the Trust is one of the legal rights of the Trust Beneficiaries. Probate code 16065.1

    The Trustee should update all trust beneficiaries and heirs when there is a change of Trustee.

    The Trustee should keep the trust beneficiaries of the Trust reasonably informed of the Trust and its administration. The beneficiary of a trust must stay reasonable and keep deadlines. Probate code 166060

    The Trustee has 60 days to notify Beneficiaries on “knowledge of the death” of the Trustor. The Trustee identifies the beneficiaries of the Trust and the date of execution of the Trust instrument.

    The Trustee is to give the name, address, telephone number of each Trustee to the trust beneficiaries.

    The Trustee gives additional information that the terms may have expressly required of the Trust.

    Beneficiaries may have the right to petition the courts to remove the Trustee if they believe the Trustee fails in administering the Trust. They have not lived up to their fiduciary duties and have been self-dealing, lacking transparency, bookkeeping issues, etc.

    What rights does a trust beneficiary have against the Trustee?  

    To keep the Trustee transparent in all their actions by pursuing your beneficiary rights to Trust Information. The Trustee and successor trustee must ensure they have not misappropriated trust assets; otherwise, civil action can be followed. Trust property must be kept protected from someone stealing the assets.

    Don’t hesitate to get in touch with a Hess-Verdon law firm that is well versed with the probate code, including other pertinent information Call: 1-888-318-4430

    Rights of Trust Beneficiaries to Trust Assets

    Beneficiaries have the right to take the Trustee to probate court! As a beneficiary of a trust, you can also lose your rights. How? If you review probate code 16061.8, it states that once notice is served, you may bring an action to contest the Trust within 120 days from the date of notification by the Trustee or 60 days from the time you, the beneficiary, received a copy of the terms of the Trust.

    Can a beneficiary override a trustee?

    A beneficiary can override a trustee using only legal means at their disposal and claiming a breach of fiduciary duty on the Trustee’s part. If the Trustee stays transparent and lives up to the trust document, there is no reason to “override” the Trustee. If, however, the Trustee has not completed an annual administration or has lost trust assets, etc., then overriding the Trustee via the use of a trust litigation attorney is paramount.

    Trust Trustees Rights and Fiduciary duties

    When it comes to Trustees’ rights, it breaks down to the Trust Instrument and living up to their fiduciary duties, which includes to distribute trust assets. The objective of a Trustee: Keep the Irrevocable Trust out of litigation. If the trust beneficiary sues via a trust litigation attorney, the Trustee may be compelled to act. A Trustee stays out of litigation through transparency and ensuring no undue influence. Therefore, be transparent, keep beneficiaries and heirs reasonably up-to-date, and know and understand the pitfalls of Trustee actions.

    So with that said, the Trustee of an estate has built-in rights from the courts to complete the following. (not an exhaustive list)

    The Trustee has the right to represent the estate for legal purposes:  The Trustee can hire an estate attorney, petition courts, and attend court proceedings if needed.

    Source : hessverdon.com

    5 Rights That Trust Beneficiaries Have

    As a trust beneficiary, you may feel that you are at the mercy of the trustee, but depending on the type of trust, beneficiaries may have rights to e...


    5 Rights That Trust Beneficiaries Have

    April 26th, 2022

    As a trust beneficiary, you may feel that you are at the mercy of the trustee, but depending on the type of trust, beneficiaries may have rights to ensure the trust is properly managed.

    A trust is a legal arrangement through which one person, called a "settlor" or "grantor," gives assets to another person (or an institution, such as a bank or law firm), called a "trustee." The trustee holds legal title to the assets for another person, called a "beneficiary." The rights of a trust beneficiary depend on the type of trust and the type of beneficiary.

    Local Elder Law Attorneys in Providence, RI

    Amy Stratton

    Moonan, Stratton & Waldman, LLP

    Providence, RI

    Kristen Moonan

    Moonan, Stratton & Waldman, LLP

    Providence, RI

    David DiPalma

    David DiPalma Esq. CPA

    East Providence, RI

    If the trust is a revocable trust—meaning the person who set up the trust can change it or revoke it at any time--the trust beneficiaries other than the settlor have very few rights. Because the settlor can change the trust at any time, he or she can also change the beneficiaries at any time. Often a trust is revocable until the settlor dies and then it becomes irrevocable. An irrevocable trust is a trust that cannot be changed except in rare cases by court order.

    Beneficiaries of an irrevocable trust have rights to information about the trust and to make sure the trustee is acting properly. The scope of those rights depends on the type of beneficiary. Current beneficiaries are beneficiaries who are currently entitled to income from the trust. Remainder or contingent beneficiaries have an interest in the trust after the current beneficiaries' interest is over. For example, a wife may set up a trust that leaves income to her husband for life (the current beneficiary) and then the remainder of the property to her children (the remainder beneficiaries).

    State law and the terms of the trust determine exactly what rights a beneficiary has, but following are five common rights given to beneficiaries of irrevocable trusts:

    Payment. Current beneficiaries have the right to distributions as set forth in the trust document.Right to 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.Right to an accounting. Current beneficiaries are entitled to an accounting. An accounting is a detailed report of all income, expenses, and distributions from the trust. Usually, 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.Remove the trustee. Current and remainder beneficiaries have the right to petition the court for the removal of the trustee if they believe the trustee isn't acting in their best interest. 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.End the trust. In some circumstances, if all the current and remainder beneficiaries agree, they can petition the court to end the trust. State laws vary on when this is allowed. Usually, the purpose of the trust must have been fulfilled or be impossible.

    Last Modified: 04/26/2022



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