What to do if a trustee has stopped contact with a beneficiary?

My husband is one of the beneficiaries of his grandmother’s trust. His uncle is the trustee as well as a beneficiary. She passed away 6 months ago and we received a copy of the trust 2 months later but we have never received a copy of her assets. We were communicating with his uncle and then it stopped. I have sent him 2 unanswered e-mails. Have not heard anything from him in over 6 weeks. We are supposed to be receiving quarterly payments for 21 years but have yet to even receive the estimated income. Is there anything we can or should do?

Asked on November 9, 2011 under Estate Planning, Tennessee

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for you and your husband's loss of his Grandmother and for the problems that seem to have cropped up since her death.  Your husband's uncle holds a very powerful position as the trustee of the trust.  But with great power comes great responsibility as well.  Generally speaking, a trustee has the obligation to file various documentation as to the trust assets and the income and liabilities of the trust for both accounting and tax purposes.  The delay here could be in the marshalling - gathering - of the assets, the valuation of the assets and determining any liabilities of the estate in general.  It may be in your best interest to speak with an attorney and retain some one to "officially" inquire on your behalf.  Try giving his uncle a call before hand to see if he responds - and it is your husband that needs to do so unless you are mentioned as a beneficiary too.   He does not have to respond to you so that may be the root of the matter here.   If he does not respond then speak with an attorney.  Good luck.


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