What are a beneficiary’s rights to review a Trust?

My father died 8 years ago. He remarried 31 years ago to my evil stepmother. I just found out a month ago that my dad put some of his assets in a Trust for my brother and I. I found this out from the person who is going to be the executor of the Will after she dies. He did this because he didn’t want her kids to get his money. Like I said, I just found this out. Do I have any rights and what can I do to protect this Trust if there is anything left. My stepmother has cut all ties and I don’t know how to find out what or where the Trust is or has gone. What can I do?

Asked on June 24, 2014 under Estate Planning, Michigan

Answers:

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Here is the thing: when the trust was created matters.  If it was created and in effect when your Dad passed then you should have seen the trust document and know the terms now.  But if you and your Brother are not the beneficiaries now then you could arguably see the terms but you have no rights until she passes.  Let me explain that situation.  He could have set up a Testamentary Trust with assets in it at the time of his death and the assets in the trust benefit his wife but naming you and your brother as the remaindermen of the trust, meaning you get it when she passes. The trustee of the trust has an obligation to balance here between you and the current beneficiary and you should be getting information as to the assets and their investment, etc.  The trustee here has an obligation to preserve trust assets, etc. Find out more details then seek legal help.  Good luck.


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