I am one of 5 named in a trust and would like to see all financial records (earnings credited and debits) since the POA has been handling the estate. She said she doesn't have to produce them or give any information to the others on the trust. Do I have a legal right to see them, if so, how do I go about asking for them? This is in the state of Michigan.
Estate Planning Attorney
You should ask this question of a MI attorney, but as far as Florida Trust Code goes, the Trustee has a fiduciary duty to give an annual accounting of the trust to the beneficiaries. If you believe that the Trustee is not performing their duties correctly, you should seek the advice of a MI trusts and estates attorney who can review your concerns. From a brief look at the recently enacted (2009) Michigan Trust Code, it appears that your Trustee is not complying with their statutory duties. Take a look at (google) MCL Section 700.7814, which describes the duty of the Trustee to keep qualified beneficiaries informed as to the administration of the trust. There are also remedies that can be pursued if the Trustee is in violation of their duties to the Trust and the beneficiaries. If you think that is happening, seek the advice of a MI trusts attorney right away. Silence may be assumed to be consent.
Carol Johnson Law Firm, P.A. : (727) 647-6645 : firstname.lastname@example.org : Wills, Trusts, Real Property, Probate, Special Needs: Information provided here is anecdotal and should not be relied upon or considered legal advice. Every matter is different and answers given here are general in nature and may not reflect current Florida law at the time you are reading this posting. Please contact me if you feel you need additional assistance with your matter.
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I agree with the previous poster who suggested you meet with a trust and estates attorney in Michigan. If the trust were governed by florida law, the trust code provides certain procedures to prevent this situation from happening. You also need to clarify how you are named in the trust. Are you a qualified beneficiary? You should definitely consult with an attorney in Michigan who can guide you.
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While I agree with my colleagues with regard to a trust, I do not believe this is what the Asker wanted to know. It appears from my reading of the facts that Asker wants to know if the agent under the POA can be forced to account to the beneficiaries of the Trust for management prior to the death of the trust grantor.
Michigan's POA Statute is even newer than its Trust Code, having just gone into effect October 1, of this year. The new statute requires the agent to maintain records of all actions as agent and to provide them, upon order of a court. Depending on the terms of the POA, the agent may have more duties, but on the face of things, I do not believe the agent would owe a duty to provide this information to the beneficiaries of the trust, absent a court order. Having said that, failure to do so might be an implicit suggestion that something was done improperly. If I were acting as agent, I do not think I would have a problem turning this information over.
*** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state.
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