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What are the rights of beneficiaries to an estate once a letter from a lawyer names a...

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ynavarro | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 27, 2008 at 3:42 PM via web

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What are the rights of beneficiaries to an estate once a letter from a lawyer names a sibbling the successor truste?

What should the sibbings do to protect themselfs if no living will or last will and testamony has been seen byremainingbeneficiaries?

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urthona | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted September 30, 2008 at 9:04 PM (Answer #1)

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It appears that the deceased parent created a trust that, upon his or her death, named one of the children as the successor trustee. It’s likely that there is no will, but you should ask the attorney.

The rights of the beneficiaries depend on state laws and the terms of the trust. A trustee has a very high fiduciary duty, which means he or she must act with good faith in managing the assets of the trust.

Depending on state laws and the specific terms of the trust, beneficiaries’ rights may include:

  • an equitable title to the property held in trust
  • an accounting of the trust property and income from the trustee
  • timely distribution of income
  • clarification of terms of the trust
  • removal of the trustee and appointment of an independent trustee (for cause, e.g. the trustee not acting in good faith)

You should ask the successor beneficiary about the terms of the trust and the predicted timing of the distribution of assets. If you are not satisfied with the answers or if the distribution takes too long (patience is required; it could take a year or so), seek legal advice from an attorney experienced in representing trust beneficiaries.

Disclaimer: This post contains general legal information and should not be construed as legal advice to be applied to any specific factual situation. Each reader should consult a lawyer if you want a qualified professional’s assurance that this information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation.

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