Thank you for your quick reply. Yes, in that case you absolutely have the right to an accounting. A no contest clause relates to the trust agreement itself; it does not relate to the actual administration of the trust. The trustee can steal all the trust assets in contravention of the agreement and then try to hide behind a no contest provision. Such a provision only means that you can't contest the provisions of the trust agreement.
Specifically, the Wisconsin Trust Code provides as follows:
701.0813 Duty to inform and report.
(1) A trustee shall keep the distributees or permissible distributees of trust income or principal, and other qualified beneficiaries who so request, reasonably informed about the administration of the trust. Unless unreasonable under the circumstances, a trustee shall promptly respond to a qualified beneficiary's request for information related to the administration of the trust.
2) A trustee shall do all of the following:
(a) Upon the request of a qualified beneficiary for a copy of the trust instrument, promptly furnish to the qualified beneficiary either a copy of the portions of the trust instrument relating to the interest of the qualified beneficiary or a copy of the trust instrument.
(b) Within a reasonable period of time after accepting a trusteeship, notify the qualified beneficiaries of the acceptance and of the trustee's name, address, and telephone number.
(c) Within a reasonable period of time after the date on which the trustee acquires knowledge of the creation of an irrevocable trust, or the date on which the trustee acquires knowledge that a formerly revocable trust has become irrevocable, whether by the death of the settlor or otherwise, notify the qualified beneficiaries of all of the following:
1. The trust's existence.
2. The identity of the settlor or settlors.
3. The name, address, and telephone number of each directing party and trust protector.
4. The right to request a copy of the documentation referred to in par. (a).
5. The right to request information under sub. (1).
6. The right to a trustee's report as provided in sub. (3).
(d) Notify the distributees or permissible distributees of trust income or principal, and other qualified beneficiaries who so request, of any change in the method or rate of the trustee's compensation.
(e) Upon receiving a petition to the court for action under ss. 701.0411 to 701.0416 that does not identify each trust protector and each directing party of the trust, notify the petitioning party of the identity of each trust protector and directing party, including the name, address, and telephone number of each trust protector and directing party, who is serving at the time the petition is filed.
(a) At least annually and upon the termination of a trust, a trustee shall send to the distributees or permissible distributees of trust income or principal, and to other qualified beneficiaries who request it, all of the following:
1. A report of the trust property, liabilities, receipts, and disbursements, including the source and amount of the trustee's compensation.
2. A listing of the trust assets and, if feasible, their respective market values.
(b) Upon a vacancy in a trusteeship, unless a cotrustee remains in office, the former trustee shall send a report containing the information described under par. (a) 1. to the qualified beneficiaries. A personal representative or guardian may send the qualified beneficiaries a report containing the information described in par. (a) 1. on behalf of a deceased or incapacitated trustee.
(4) A qualified beneficiary may waive the right to a trustee's report or other information otherwise required to be furnished under this section. A qualified beneficiary, with respect to future reports and other information, may withdraw a waiver previously given."
The trust and its assets are not the personal piggy bank of the trustee. Rather, the trustee is obligated to administer the trust specifically pursuant to the terms of the trust. In addition, the trustee’s fiduciary duty to each beneficiary requires that the trustee provide each beneficiary a full inventory of trust assets and periodic accounting of every dime in and out of the trust. Failure to do so is a breach of the trustee’s fiduciary duty to the grantor of the trust and to the beneficiaries. Such a breach gives the beneficiaries cause to ask the trustee to resign and if the trustee refuses to do so, gives the beneficiaries the right to file a petition with the family court asking the court to order the trustee removed. And, if there has been any misappropriation of trust assets, the beneficiaries can also ask the court to award actual and punitive damages against the trustee.
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