What Rights Do You Have as a Beneficiary?

Trusts are often a valuable way to protect assets as well as to assure that they are doled out fairly to the rest of the family. However, while trust administration can be confusing, often beneficiaries may let a number of shady dealings go on simply because they don’t know their rights as a beneficiary of that trust. As a beneficiary, a slice of that trust is yours by right, so knowing your rights as one can make sure that you know what should be expected of your trust administrator.

The Rights of Trust Beneficiaries

  • You have the right to a copy of the trust if requested. By right, if you request a copy of the trust, then the trustee should provide one for you. However, if they do not, you can demand one from the court. Typically, if the trust is created as the result of someone’s death, you should receive a copy of the trust at the time that it is created.
  • You are entitled to your share of assets. While trusts can often have a number of stipulations that come with receiving your share, if you meet them, no one can keep you from your share of assets. However, even though a trust may terminate at a certain time, there may be a period for the trustee to “wind up” or close out the trust.  During that time, you may not receive the assets to which you are entitled, but you will receive them once the winding up period has concluded.
  • You have the right to see the accounting. As a beneficiary, you have the right to see what assets are in the trust, what income is received, and what expenses are being taken out.  You have the right to receive an accounting of the trust at least once a year, but the trust agreement may provide for more frequent accountings.  Likewise, some trust agreements require the trustee to automatically account, but others do not require an accounting unless you request it in writing.  To ensure that you receive an accounting regularly, you should request the accounting in writing.

In most trust litigation, it is a breach of these fundamental rights that causes conflicts. If you believe that any of your rights as a beneficiary are being impeded, contact us today.