What do I do if disbursement of funds has not happened as per the terms of a Trust?

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What do I do if disbursement of funds has not happened as per the terms of a Trust?

My sisters and I are beneficiaries in my grandmother’s Will. We are supposed to receive the

remaining amount at the age of 35. Last year, one of my sisters turned 35 but received nothing. This year I turned 35 and have gotten nothing but the runaround from the lawyer and the trustee or executor. Never once have we received a printout of funds or an accounting. Now that I have been asking for copies of things but all I hear is they’ll let me know when it’s ready. What can I do?

Asked on August 27, 2017 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Beneficiaries of a trust can bring a legal action in chancery court (a part or division of county court) against the trust and trustee seeking an "accounting": that is, requiring the trustee to account for and justify his actions and show that he is following the terms or instructions of the trust, not engaging in "self dealing" (i.e. not benefiting himself at the beneficiaries' expenses) and also using reasonable care in the discharge of his duties. If he has violated his "fiduciary duty" (the duty of loyalty and care imposed by law on trustees) or the terms of the trust, the court can do one or more of the following: undo some of his actions; force him to personally repay monies diverted from or taken from the trust; replace him as trustee. This can be a complex legal action to bring--certainly more so than, say, suing someone in small claims court--so you should retain an attorney to help you. Speak to a trusts and estates attorney about your options.


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