Is a trustee obligated to provide accountings to beneficieries?

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Is a trustee obligated to provide accountings to beneficieries?

Both parents recently passed away 8 siblings beneficieries two were made
trustees. Have requested from trustees to provide accountings detailing trust
assets including expenses.

Asked on June 20, 2019 under Estate Planning, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

They are not required to provide them on request or as a regular matter unless the terms of the trust itself required her to do so. However, beneficiaries who believe that the trustee may not be following the terms of the trust or is engaging in "self dealing" (benefit herself at the expense of the beneficiaries) or actively stealing from the trust can bring a kind of legal action in county court called an action "for an accounting." As the name implies, in this action, the trustee is forced to "account for" her handling of the trust, and in the course of the lawsuit, she'll have to provide information about the trust's assets, investments, payments, etc.
Obviously, a lawyer would be very helpful in bringing such an action, but a beneficiary could bring the action in his/her own name on a "pro se" (no lawyer) basis. Contact the clerk's office for your county court to be directed to the court rules and instructions.


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