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LegalGems, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 5724
Experience:  Private Practice; Elder Law Attorney; Estate Planning; Attorney Mentor
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this question is for an iowa lawyer. i need to find out all

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this question is for an iowa lawyer. i need to find out all of my legal rights as a beneficiary of a trust and, all my legal rights as a co-trustee of a trust. i'm familiar with the iowa administrative code but, it is so big i don't want to spend all day researching it. so, if you could either list my rights (both scenarios above) or tell me specifically in the iowa code where i can find a list of my rights i would appreciate it. thanks, j  p.s. please do not answer in chat format.

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  LegalGems replied 2 years ago.
Hi; My goal is to provide you with great service - if you have any questions please be sure and let me know and I will respond as soon as I see it.

The statute has many different codes that address the duties - in a very roundabout and legalese manner. I have researched for a more user friendly guide and I think you will find the attached helpful: It is published by the military and is a concise guide on the trustee's responsibilities. One thing I would like to point out - as co-trustee, there is an obligation to stay informed as to what the other co-trustee is doing, because each co-trustee can be held liable for the actions of the other (on the theory that they should have intervened to rectify a problem, if possible).

As for the rights of a beneficiary, they are a right to be kept "up to date" on all proceedings and issues concerning the trust, the right to an accounting, the right to expect the trustee to respect the fiduciary duty imposed by law. Here is a good overview of what the fiduciary duty entails:

Since the probate codes are modeled after the Uniform Probate Code, most of the state codes are quite similar, so the above information is applicable across the country.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

i will click on and review your links but, will they pertain to iowa law. thanks, j

Expert:  LegalGems replied 2 years ago.
Yes, they do. The Probate codes are all modeled on the Uniform Probate Code, and so they all have very similar requirements. I have reviewed the Iowa Probate code and it does not provide as much guidance as the above sources. For example, chapter 633 addresses some of the responsibilities, but does not really explain them. That is why I included the above sources. When I was researching this for you, I also found another great California source that provides incredible detail - citing California codes, not Iowa's. But the underlying premises are all the same (ie duty to provide accounting, fiduciary duty, keep beneficiaries up to date). California seems to have the most information out there in layman's language, as I even found a page from their courts delineating the duties of a personal representative. Let me know if you would like a link to the first source I mentioned above (I don't want to boggle you with a bunch of resources, since you initially requested a list). Thanks!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

i don't know what you are referring to when you say "a link to the first source" but, send me the link anyway. so, when i go to an iowa lawyer with your info are they not going to say "but, this does not pertain to iowa law". thanks, j

Expert:  LegalGems replied 2 years ago.
I was using my subscription service and it took a while to find a link available on the general internet so I apologize for the delay:

This document also helps to explain my point that since the law is based on the Uniform Probate Code, the trustee's duties are pretty uniform throughtout the state; same applies for beneficiaries.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

i'm sorry but, i don't understand your link. it gives me a table of contents but, doesn't tell me how to look up subjects in the contents. could you please explain. thanks, j

Expert:  LegalGems replied 2 years ago.
That's odd. I just re-tested the link and it brings me to the page that allows you to view the following book:


Kevin D. Millard
Real Property, Probate and Trust Journal
Vol. 40, No. 2 (Summer 2005), pp. 373-401
Published by: American Bar Association
Article Stable URL:

for free, online.

It is basically a much longer explanation of the first 2 links I provided. When I view it, it shows a sample from the book, and you can review it online.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

well, i'm just getting very frustrated so, i'm going to back up. i want to know what my rights were/are as a co- trustee. i'll give you a very specific and actual situation. recently, i was a co-trustee of my parents trust. my brothers (beneficiaries) took stuff from parents house without my permission. what can i do. iv'e consulted and retained several attorneys but, they don't do anything. the co-trustee (my oldest brother) won't give me any records or accountings. what can i do.

you gave me a link that provided info about fiduciary responsibility but, i want a list of beneficiary rights. something that says " these are the rights of a beneficiary under iowa law."

Expert:  LegalGems replied 2 years ago.
I should have asked for more clarification, as listing every responsibility of a trustee, and every right of a beneficiary, is very difficult to do. I thought you wanted an overall idea of the responsibilities. This statute addresses the duty to account for an irrevocable trust (a living trust converts to an irrevocable trust upon the settlor's death): Failing to account can be compelled via a Motion to Compel Accounting. If the trustee still refuses, he is in contempt of court. Ongoing refusal can result in his removal.

As for the brother that has taken property without permission: the trustee generally issues a formal demand letter for the return of property. If this goes unacknowledged, then the next step is for the trustee to sue the individual for conversion of property, and interference with personal property. The court will order specific performance (return of the property) or else, if the property is no longer available, replacement cost of the property (which in most instances is not satisfactory, particularly in cases where the original owner is deceased so now the property has more sentimental value - however, that is all the law permits).

I found this Iowa bank's summary of a trustee's duties:
LegalGems, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 5724
Experience: Private Practice; Elder Law Attorney; Estate Planning; Attorney Mentor
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