A living trust is a written legal document that provides for the administration of an estate for the testator’s benefit during life, and then for their beneficiaries benefit upon death. A trust provides the opportunity to dictate how property will be disbursed upon death. It can also help ensure that assets will be managed according to specific wishes.
When the testator dies, the trustee will gather the trust assets, pay any debts, claims, and taxes, and then distribute the remaining assets according to the instructions set forth in the trust. All of this can all be done without court involvement, which saves beneficiaries time and money. It is important that a trustee uphold their fiduciary duties to the beneficiaries.
However, sometimes the trustee does not carry out their fiduciary duties. They may refuse to make a distribution or spend excessively on themselves. When this happens, court involvement is needed. A Judge has the power to remove a trustee, require the trustee to provide an accounting, and can even make a trustee pay the trust back for excessive expenditures.
The attorneys at Cottle Keen Lopiccolo & Heyde have experience helping beneficiaries enforce their rights under a trust.