Must a Trustee follow all of the terms of a Trust?

My aunt recently passed away and had a trust. My father is the trustee, and my sister and I are beneficiaries. Is my father legally obligated to give us the full amount of what my aunt predetermined or does he have the power to hold onto it and distribute it as he pleases?

Asked on July 18, 2012 under Estate Planning, Massachusetts


Brad Micklin / The Micklin Law Group

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It depends on the terms of the trust. Normally, trusts give very broad discretion to the trustee in the amount and type of distributions required. However, trusts will also usually have the items or life needs that the trust is intended to provide.  Commonly, the trust will provide for health, welfare and education as well as general needs. Many trusts will also provide the dates or ages by which the entire trust must be distributed.

You should speak with an experienced estate attorney to ensure you are fully aware of your rights.

Brad Micklin, ESQ.
187 Washington Ave.
Nutley, NJ 07110
973 – 562 – 0100

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