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Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Beneficiary's Rights

The Cannon Financial Institute is sponsored a teleconference program entitled Understanding Beneficiaries' Rights Under Trust Documents and Local Law  on January 24, 2006.  Here is the Institute's description of the program.

There is often an understandable tension between the creator of a trust and its beneficiaries. Reluctance on the part of a trust settlor to reveal to the beneficiaries what the trust contains is only one example of the source of this tension. Beneficiaries at some point have an absolute right to a copy of the trust document, not to mention accountings. Trust instruments also contain provisions either circumscribing or providing for information flow to beneficiaries. In this month's teleconference, Roy Adams and Clary Redd will address:

  • How to obtain the maximum secrecy, if desired.
  • Drafting trust instruments to protect beneficiaries but preserve privacy.
  • When is, and what type of information is, required for the beneficiaries?
  • Lawsuits involving beneficiaries' claims for information.
  • Do those preparing trust documents owe duties of disclosure to the beneficiaries?

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/trusts_estates_prof/2006/01/beneficiarys_ri.html

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Comments

Greetings...Where can I find basic information on my rights as a beneficiary? I am a resident of CA, but the will in which I am named as a beneficiary was set up in OK. Thank you.

Posted by: Swirly | Feb 9, 2006 10:55:19 AM

I am a Beneficiary to my grandmother's will but the executor refuses to allow me to see the will or even know the name of the lawyer overseeing it. Do I have a right to know the lawyer and see the will legally? If so what should I do to obtain a copy and to find out who the lawyer is?

Posted by: Jon | Feb 21, 2006 4:34:55 PM

I am the successor trustee for my mother's trust.
She is now incapacitated on the verge of death.
I am being hounded by my brother for a copy of her trust.
My attorney has told me not to provide him one until she is deceased.
Do I have an obligation to give him a copy of the trust before my mother passes away?

Posted by: Craig | Aug 26, 2006 11:14:42 PM

I and my brothers are a Beneficiary to my aunts will but the executor refuses to allow me to see the will or even know the name of the lawyer overseeing it. Do I have a right to know the lawyer and see the will legally? If so what should I do to obtain a copy and to find out who the lawyer is?

Posted by: marilyn | Oct 18, 2006 3:55:35 PM

My companion of 8 years has died 2 months ago. He made his older Son the trustee of his living trust, Although he did forge the P.O.A. Yes there is a witness. After they evicted me from the home we shared together . They sold it and won't return any e-mail or phone messages I send to him. I know he has abused and did not protect any of this man's assets. Especially the way the trust was laid out. I was to be the first to get 15 % and his 5 children split the remaining. He also has a home in Arizona that I don't know if it has been sold. I know there was a lot of equity in the first home. What can I do. He doesn't think he has to account to the beneficiaries for his actions and spending the trust money?

Posted by: Marseille Langres | Nov 16, 2006 11:13:22 PM

my brother is an attorney, as well as the trustee and an equal beneficiary of my deceased mothers estate. As a paralegal,I understand that it is almost impossible to contest a trust & of course, he included a "no-contest clause", as well as other means of protection. Legal? pretty sure that could be contested. The current problem is the sale of the house & land. It is on the market for far less than its value. The sale is being handled by a high school buddy of his. We are talking about a very small town with a "good ole boy" system. My father proceeded my mother in death, but had a joint will prepared a number of years ago which each of us children were provided a copy of. My father did not want my brother handling the estate. He did not trust my brother to do so impartially & was also well aware of his alcoholism. I realize the trust cancels that will (my mother was not herself after the loss of my father & my brother took every advantage of that). 2 other sisters & a brother are afraid of this one brother. I am not afraid of him. My father was a judge & my brother is a discrace to the legal profession but unfortunately very good at making money at it (he is not much in the courtroom & has been asked to leave on many occasions due to drunkeness). I could care less about the money having come to understand that with the rich enough will never be enough. But my sisters & brother do. Any suggestions on how to block the sale of a $100,000.00 home for $65,000.00?

Posted by: sheelagh | Dec 5, 2006 9:22:36 AM

my trustee is demanding a record in detail of my personal income & expenses for a full year.

CAN HE DO THIS, & DO I HAVE TO GIVE IT TO HIM????

Thank you

Posted by: debi | Jan 3, 2007 4:12:02 PM

what if you as a beneficary of a trust and you were named twice under maidwe3n name and then under a married name. each for a specified amount. that was the same. Now some attorney is asking that i give back one gift. My grandfather told me he would take care of me and it looks like he did just that. Do I have to give back the gift?

Posted by: kate salinas | Jan 9, 2007 5:34:06 PM

Need some assistance...I am one of six children named as beneficary in my recntly deceased mother's will. My brother is the executor and is not fully disclosing all information in regard to assets and the sale of home. I don't think that this is being done purposely, rather I do not think he knows better. What are my rights under NJ Law? What are the executor responsibilities to those named in the will as far disclosure?

Posted by: Mike | Jan 11, 2007 4:59:14 PM

My sister and myself have been named in our grandfathers trust to receive a gift in a monetary form. It has been 8 1/2 months and the the trustee has NOT once communicated with
us. What communications that have been done have been in the form of us writing to the lawyer handling the estate. In the meantime the trustee has dispursed the land but has not settled with us and giving us our gift. Can she do that? And I thought before the Trustee could benefit from the estate that ALL other beneficiaries and to receive their bequest?

Posted by: cindy | Feb 7, 2007 5:43:44 PM

My Mother recently passed away and my sister is executor of her trust. What rights do I have as a son to see her trust. Or what timeframe does the executor have to notify if I am a beneficiary?

Posted by: Michael | Feb 22, 2007 4:34:46 PM

My wifes father died and left everything to her and her brother. the estate is involved in some litigation and everything is tied up. Her brothers assets were left in a trust and the estate pays money to maintain his assets. Is my wife entiled to a equal distrobution that it costs to maintain the brother assets? Seems unfair that his assets are being paid for with estate money and she gets nothing.

Posted by: Michael | Mar 23, 2007 3:47:50 PM

MY FATHER PASSED AWAY JUST OVER ONE YEAR AGO. HE LEFT A WILL AND A TRUST. I (HIS SON AND ONLY DESENDENT) WAS LEFT EVERYTHING OF MY FATHERS EXCEPT:
1) 15% OF HIS BUISNESS-(WENT TO MY AUNT)
2) MY STEP-MOTHER RECIEVED A MONTHLY ALLOWANCE UP TO A CERTAIN DATE, PLUS SHE WAS ALSO GIVEN LIFE ESTATE IN ONE OF TWO PROPERTIES MY FATHER OWNED UNDER GUIDE LINES HE PROVIDED.
* 85% OF HIS BUISNESS WAS LEFT TO ME
* BOTH HOUSES/PROPERTIES WERE LEFT IN TRUST TO ME UNTIL I REACH A CERTAIN AGE
*EVERYTHING OF MY FATHERS OWNERSHIP WAS SET OUT IN TRUST FOR ME ALSO
MY STEP MOTHER IS NOW WANTING TO CLAIM COMMUNITY PROPERTY OVER THE WHOLE ESTATE. IN MY FATHERS WILL, HE STATES ANY ONE WHO CONTEST THE WILL, SHALL BE VOIDED FROM HIS WILL, AND SHALL NOT BE A BENIFICIARY. THE BUISNESS WAS AQUIRRED BEFORE THEY MET, ONE OF THE HOUSES WAS INHERITED TO MY FATHER FROM HIS PARENTS, MY GRANDPARENTS, AND THE OTHER HOUSE WAS AQQUIRED BEFORE THEY WERE MARRIED. MY FATHER BOUGHT THE HOUSE IN 1989, IN WHICH MY FATHER AND STEP-MOTHER WERE TOGETHER FOR A MATTER OF FOUR YEARS, AND DIDNT GET MARRIED UNTIL 1994-95'. CAN SHE LAWFULLY CLAIM COMMUNITY PROPERTY CONCERNING THESE SITUATIONS?

Posted by: SAMUEL | Apr 18, 2007 4:48:46 PM

My late mother left my brother and
I as beneficiaries. My 87 year old aunt renounced being executor. The executor is a lawyer and I am having trouble getting
her to send me a short certificate. Can
she be replaced?

Posted by: Larry Blong | Apr 24, 2007 7:19:03 PM

My husband died about a month ago. In his will he states that im the main beneficiary. his solicotor is the executive of the will. My husband has left the house to me to be free of any mortage. Im a stay at home mum, and always have been. The mortage is a month behind, and the executive tells me nothing will be done for six months incase the will is contested. Im afraid of loosing the house. What are my rights?

Posted by: brooke lay | May 12, 2007 12:04:02 AM

My late husband made his solicotor executor of his will. My husband owned his own buisiness, and supported myself and children. My husband always told me that i had nothing to worry about if he passed away, as his executor would make sure we were ok finacially. My concerns are the house is out of insurance and is a month behind in payments. The executor tells me that he cant release any money incase someone contests the will. So that means i have no insurance on the house, and the bank will want to put the house on the market. Can you tell me what my rights are? In the will my husband states that i am to get the house debt free, and a weekly income from his estate immediaty. At the moment everything is frozen, so im told. I have no money to pay bills or food for my children and myself. Thankyou.

Posted by: Betty | May 12, 2007 2:37:09 AM

My best friend is falling apart with paranoia that his older brother is robbing their recently deceased parents' trust estate. What can he do to get an audit and/or some accountability and law compliance?.....California law.....Please advise: what can a beneficiary do to compel disclosure and compliance to law and trust language?.......Call the DA's office?....Hire an expensive attorney?.....Robert

Posted by: Robert Brock | Jun 1, 2007 10:58:39 AM

my wife's grandma passed away over 6 months ago. she just found out last night from her mom, the executor, her grandma listed her in her will and has left her cash. the estate would have settled quickly. she had minimal assets and zero debt. my wife's frustration is her mom "felt it was the proper time" to tell her last night. wasn't she obligated to communicate before now? before "she felt it the right time"? what if my wife had passed away herself by now? can she expect interest also? there was a will. thank you.

Posted by: steve | Jul 3, 2007 12:10:28 PM

My father recently passed away, he had only a hand written will. One sister and two of my brothers had read the will along with my step mother and they are not denying its existance. However, I have recently received a form requesting my signature for my stepmother to be executor of his estate. The form has a box checking that there is no will. I of course want my stepmother to be well taken care of but I'm not sure I agree with this procedure. As one of the beneficiaries out of six children and my step mother, what rights do I have to disclosure of what my father's estate includes? Thank you

Posted by: Geri Malphrus | Jul 13, 2007 3:01:07 PM

My grandmonther died about 6 months ago and there has been a fight ever since to split up her estate because of my selfish uncle. My cousin was named executor of the estate and now that they are coming down to the bills to be paid my uncle and cousin don't want to show my father the bills that need to be paid but they want him to pay half the bills. What are his rights when dealing with a bias executor and what should he do about this problem? He wants to get all of this over as soon as possible, can you help us?

Posted by: Erin Burden | Jul 31, 2007 7:58:30 PM

My grandmother died 7 years ago and I have been paying the property taxes on her Florida property every year since her death. Someone recently told me that because I've been paying the property taxes for 7 years, I legally own the property. Is this true?

Posted by: Shan Fulner | Sep 1, 2007 4:17:29 PM

I live in Georgia. My parents lived in Virginia. My brother was appointed executor. It has been over a year since my mother died. There is a will and a trust. My brother has refused to do absolutely anything with the will or the trust, he even refuses to let me see any documents. (I know he is a thief and a liar)
How do I remove him as executor?
Please help!

Posted by: arrows | Sep 3, 2007 4:28:07 PM

My father died in January, my brother is the executor of the will. It is now September and I have not seen a copy of the will, he said that everything was left to mother, who is in a nursing home. Do I have a right to see the will?

Posted by: Linda | Sep 4, 2007 12:10:10 PM

I and my sister are a Beneficiary to my grandad's will but the executor (my birth mother) refuses to allow us to see the will or even know the name of the lawyer overseeing it. Do we have a right to know the lawyer and see the will legally? If so what should I do to obtain a copy and to find out who the lawyer is? Also, are there any time limits to the reading of the will as we have arrived from America to London for the funeral proceedings and need to ensure the costs are reimbursed as soon as possible as this is the one thing we know is actually in the will.

Any advice is MUCH appreciated. Thank you!

Posted by: Stuart Bullen | Nov 8, 2007 10:22:57 AM

I would like to know if it is necessary for a beneficiary's designation to be a part of probate. I have always been under the assumption that if you leave accounts or insurance policies in the names of beneficiaries, that this does not have to be included in probate. Is this correct?

Posted by: Bratrice Miller | Nov 24, 2007 10:56:29 AM

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