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Ask Maverick Your Own Question
Maverick, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 6421
Experience:  20 yrs of professional experience.
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I was Successor Trustee in a Trust. Decedent died in 2007.

Customer Question

I was Successor Trustee in a Trust. Decedent died in 2007. Litigation occurred. I was dismissed effective 1-19-10. All beneficiaries were issued their payouts in 2009. How long am I supposed to retain all trust records/documents/letters/etc., that is, how many years am I to retain such files, from beginning date to current> Thank you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Maverick replied 1 year ago.

Welcome to Just Answer (“JA”)! My name is Maverick.

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ANSWER: Tax records are kept for three years after the date of filing while non-tax records should be kept for seven years.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am also refering to check registers, bank statements, financial documents. Thank you.
Expert:  Maverick replied 1 year ago.

Yes, those would need to be kept for 7 years even though some of those items were used to prepare the tax returns.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
7 years from date of death?
Expert:  Maverick replied 1 year ago.

7 years from 1-19-10.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I disposed of everything 7 years after settlor's date of death, 8-3-14. Am I in violation of any laws? Thank you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
date of death was 8-3-07.
Expert:  Maverick replied 1 year ago.

There is a three-year statute of limitations on actions by beneficiaries against trustees for breach of trust. This statute begins running either when:

1. the beneficiary receives the trustee's account that "adequately discloses the existence of a claim against the trustee for breach of trust," or

2. when the beneficiary discovers or reasonably should discover the "subject" of the claim.

I suppose if a trustee concealed something wrongful that he did and the court finds that this wrong should have been reasonably been discovered sometime AFTER 8-3-14, you could be held liable for a breach of trust arising from your act of destruction or premature disposition of the records.

Because of the nature of this law, it is "good practice" in the industry to keep the records for 7 years from the last possible date of a wrongful act by the trustee. While there is no set STATUTORY guideline for how long a trustee is to keep the records, this is what is recommended by highly experienced probate lawyers.