4 Beneficiary Rights You May Not Know About

As a beneficiary of a trust agreement, you have certain rights by law. The trust agreement may also give you rights as a beneficiary. Because you may receive significant benefits from the trust, it makes sense to know and understand your rights as a beneficiary. A California beneficiary rights attorney can help you protect your rights as a trust beneficiary, including contacting the trustee on your behalf to resolve issues directly or by filing a lawsuit with the court seeking resolution of a matter related to the trust or its administration.

1.  You have the right to receive notice of the trust and the property held by the trust.

As a beneficiary, you have the right to review a copy of the trust once the vestment of your rights under the trust occurs. Your rights in a trust become vested with the trust becomes irrevocable. A trust can be created as an irrevocable trust while other trusts become irrevocable upon the death of the grantor or another qualifying event. When you receive a copy of the trust, read the entire trust. If you do not understand any of the terms of the trust, contact an attorney for assistance. You need to understand the provisions of the trust to know whether your rights are being violated.

2.  You have the right to receive an annual accounting from the trustee.

Each year, the trustee must provide the trust beneficiaries with an accounting pursuant to trust laws in California. The terms of the trust agreement cannot waive or restrict the duty of the trustee to provide annual accounting. Beneficiaries are also entitled to an accounting from the trustee upon termination of the trust or when a new trustee assumes management of the trust.

3.  The accounting must contain certain details regarding trust property.

The annual accounting by the trustee must satisfy the legal requirements for a trust accounting record. For example, the trustee must include information related to expenses incurred by the trust during the year. The trustee must also account for any trust property sold, transferred, or distributed during the year. The beneficiaries also have the right to know what property the trust still holds.

4.  You have the right to petition the court for assistance.

If a trustee fails to perform his or her duties or breaches the fiduciary duty owed to beneficiaries of the trust, you have the right to petition the court to ask the court to intervene. The court may require the trustee to account for various actions and property. Depending on the outcome of the case, the court may remove the trustee and order the trustee to reimburse the trust for value lost because of the trustee’s breach of duty or other wrongdoing.

Contact a California Estate-Planning Attorney for More Information

The terms of the trust agreement impact your rights as a beneficiary. Trust agreements are complicated documents. A California estate-planning attorney can review the trust to determine your rights as a beneficiary under the trust agreement and pursuant to California trust law. If your beneficiary rights have been violated, the attorney can explain the various legal options available, including trust litigation, to resolve the matter. Contact us today for a consultation.