Is there a difference in terms of inheritance between the fiducairy of a trust instrument and a co-beneficiary?

UPDATED: Mar 6, 2012

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Is there a difference in terms of inheritance between the fiducairy of a trust instrument and a co-beneficiary?

I am one of 4 siblings. My eldest brother has been named as the fiduciary of my father’s irrevocable trust and my remaining siblings and myself are co-beneficiaries. Is there a difference in terms of the inheritance between what the fiduciary will acquire under the trust and what the co-beneficiaries will acquire? Can the fiduciary make unilateral decisions? Can the fiduciary take it all and exclude the co-beneficiaries?

Asked on March 6, 2012 under Estate Planning, New York


Hong Shen / Roberts Law Group

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Since your brother is the trustee, i.e., the fiduciary, he would take whatever the trust allocated to him as if a third party is the trustee. A trustee will make a lot of decisions in terms of invest and maintain the trust and this normally does not go through the beneficiaries as long as it is for the best interest of the beneficiaries. As the trustee, he is not supposed to commingle his personal asset with the trust asset. It can be done but perhaps not the best way to do it.

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