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In the near future I will be a trust fund beneficiary. I am

57 and finnancially stable, but...
In the near future I will be a trust fund beneficiary. I am 57 and finnancially stable, but I want to know my rights. Before the trust is put into place, I'd like to know what questions to ask, and what contracts to NOT sign.
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Answered in 6 minutes by:
7/10/2013
ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 17,276
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
Verified

ScottyMacEsq :

Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.

ScottyMacEsq :

Do you mean that the remainder of the trust fund will be distributed to you? Or do you mean that the trust will continue, and you'll step into your mother's role as beneficiary?

ScottyMacEsq :

Did you see my follow up question to your issue?

ScottyMacEsq :

Are you there? Please note that I am still here, awaiting your response.

ScottyMacEsq :

Should I continue to await your response, or may I assist the other customers that are waiting?

Customer:

My mother's will stipulates a percentage of her estate will be set up as a trust fund for me.

ScottyMacEsq :

What are the assets that are going to be set up in this trust fund? Are there stocks, mutual funds, etc...? Have they been invested by a trustee to this point?

Customer:

I do not know the assests that will be set up. My mother is living of the interest of her/my father's investments.

Customer:

and savings

ScottyMacEsq :

In a trust situation, there's not much that you can do to contest the situation unless you can show that the document that creates the trust was done without "testamentary capacity". In short, if your mother was competent at the time that she created the will and trust documents, then she could dictate how they would be distributed.

ScottyMacEsq :

Anything that you sign will be an acknowledgement of this fact.

ScottyMacEsq :

It's possible that you could be asked to sign a waiver of your "contest' rights (in that you agree that you will not contest the will).

ScottyMacEsq :

And unless you have a good basis to contest that will and trust (i.e. It was done without capacity) then you should sign that.

ScottyMacEsq :

You probably won't be asked to sign a waiver against the trustee of the trust, or any previous trustee, since a new trust will be set up, but it is possible.

Customer:

How much control to the trustees have in handingling the trust fund my mother set up for me?

ScottyMacEsq :

A lot. Now there are duties that trustees have. There's a duty to not "self deal" (engaging in transactions that benefit the trustee more than the beneficiary) and to be "prudent" (not investing in risky investments).

ScottyMacEsq :

And any waiver that you might be asked to sign would deal with these duties.

ScottyMacEsq :

But you probably wouldn't have any claim against prior trustees unless you were a contingent beneficiary of a trust that was already set up and in existence, rather than the new trust that the trust assets would be rolled into. Now you could potentially claim based upon a theory that you would be inheriting all from your mother, including any cause of action that she would have against a trustee.

ScottyMacEsq :

And in short, you should still request "accountings" from the current trustee when she passes (if she is not also the trustee of the trust).

ScottyMacEsq :

An "accounting" is a detailed account of investments, amounts of the trust at certain periods, etc... In short, it's an account of how the trust increased and decreased over time.

ScottyMacEsq :

I would want an accounting before I waived any rights against a former trustee, although it's very important to read documents that you're asked to sign.

ScottyMacEsq :

Often it's merely an acknowledgement of receipt, or that you understand the trust, etc... If the documents don't have any waiver language in them (i.e. "waive", "give up", "forfeit", etc...) then you shouldn't be worried about signing anything.

ScottyMacEsq :

Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX luck to you!

Customer:

Does the trustee set up how much money I will receive from the trust?

ScottyMacEsq :

It depends on the nature of the trust and what the trust actually says. Some trusts are "spendthrift" trusts, and the trustee only gives you money for your needs. This is subject to challenge by you (in that you can say that you need more and take the trustee to court).

ScottyMacEsq :

Other trusts have a specified amount that gets distributed.

ScottyMacEsq :

And still others are in the discretion of the trustee, but still for the benefit of the beneficiary, so the trustee almost never can get by with distributing nothing.

ScottyMacEsq :

Again, it really depends on the terms of the trust, and there's no single "right" answer in this regard.

Customer:

If trustee and beneficary are on good terms, and there has not been a specific amount of money from the trust already specified, can these two parties, can it be up to us to determine a monthly or yearly amount that is given to me?

ScottyMacEsq :

Yes, so long as the terms of the trust are not violated through this agreement. The trustee has a duty first and foremost to the trust itself, and then to the beneficiary. If the agreement maintains these duties, then there's no problem with it.

Customer:

This sucks so much. My sister is very frugal, and loves to control situations. My mother had no idea.

ScottyMacEsq :

I am sorry to hear that. Again, the actions of the trustee are absolutely subject to review and oversight by a court. If she's not fulfilling the intent of the trust, she can be ordered to do so, or be removed as trustee.

Customer:

Can I print this conversation for my reference. For my eyes only.

ScottyMacEsq :

After you rate this answer, it will switch to a Q&A format (you may need to refresh the page after rating) at which point you'll be able to print this information.

Customer:

Thank you for your time. I will be sure not to sign any waivers, forfeit etc. clauses before fully understanding them.

ScottyMacEsq :

My pleasure.If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX good luck to you!

ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 17,276
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
Verified
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ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 17,276
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Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney

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