If you are the beneficiary of a trust that has been set up by another person and you are experiencing challenges with the trustee or the individual who has been appointed to control distributions from that trust, this can lead to unnecessary family conflict, delays and other problems. As a beneficiary, however, it’s common to feel as though you don’t have any control or power over this situation.
If you are the beneficiary of a trust set up by someone else but haven’t received assets yet and you believe sufficient time has passed, consider exercising your rights to ask for a copy of the trust. While the trustee might be able to limit what he sends to you with regard to only sending you provisions that apply directly to you, you are entitled to a copy of the document. If a copy is not given to you voluntarily by the trustee, you do still have options including retaining a probate dispute lawyer.
If you do have a copy of the trust, the first thing you need to do is review the terms. If it is clear from your review of these terms that the trustee is not performing the role he or she is expected to do, contact him directly. Begin by being as cooperative and nice as possible. It is a possibility at this point in time that there is a misunderstanding that can be corrected. If the trustee does not agree with you or won’t meet with you, you may need to contact an attorney directly to discuss your concerns. An attorney can also help to apply some level of pressure if you previously asked for a copy of the trust document and were unable to receive one.
Hearing from an attorney can help to prompt an individual who previously did not want to communicate with you to share information and to resolve the issue sooner rather than later. Escalating family disputes particularly when your trustee is someone you are related to can be difficult but retaining the services of a lawyer you can count on can make a big difference.