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As one of several beneficiaries I would like to know our rights to have access to see the estate account statements

Worcester, MA |

only one sibling has handled these affairs and is refusing to provide a copy and/ or release these documents to any of us. What are our right if any to obtain the information we have requested verbally and via email. Any suggestions would be a great help.

Attorney Answers 5

  1. Best answer

    Estate beneficiaries do have a right to an inventory and accounting under Massachusetts probate laws. A simple statement to that effect would be your best bet - if your sibling doesn't believe you, have them ask the court clerks who will confirm this minimum requirement. As far as a trust is concerned, it is a little different (different section of law), but the result should be similar. The issue is if a request for information by a qualified beneficiary is reasonable. The trustee could be on the hook if they refuse to provide information. Before hiring an attorney, you probably ought to give them a last chance, but do it in writing - certified mail return receipt.

  2. You have a right to an accounting of estate funds, although this may not actually obtain for you the bank account statements, by petitioning the Court to require the personal representative to file such an accounting. It would be worthwhile to hire an attorney.

    Best wishes.

    No attorney-client relatonship is created in responding to this question, and advice provided is based solely on very limited facts presented, and therefore may not be correct. You are advised that it is always best to contact a competent and experienced with the practice of law in the county in which you reside, particularly as it relates to family law, child support, custody and visitation (a/k/a "parenting time") issues, including 209A abuse-prevention restraining orders (a/k/a "ROs" in legal-speak), regarding un-emancipated children, under the age of 22.

  3. Attorney Molloy is correct. Typically, the Trustee of the Trust has an obligation, stated in the Trust itself, to provide an account to the beneficiaries. Often, a letter from a lawyer demanding an account on threat of filing a petition will suffice to cause the Trustee to produce an account. Other times, a petition must actually be filed.

    My office certainly handles these matters, as do many attorneys you can find using the "Find a Lawyer" link above.

  4. Thank you for your question. Although the new uniform trust code in massachusetts does no specifically provide that the trustee must provide trust documents, the notes to the code state that such a requirement is "implicit" in the new provision which states that the trustee must provide all trust information when requested. I am handling a similar matter now. Attorney Molloy ' advice to seek the guidance of experienced counsel is very wise. Best of luck to you.

    Legal disclaimer: DISCLAIMER This answer is provided for educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you agree and understand that there is no attorney client privilege between you and the attorney responding. This site cannot be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices law in the State where this offense is charged and/or wherein the legal issue arises; and, who has experience in the area of law you are asking questions about and with whom you would have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question, or in the State in which your particular issue has arisen.

  5. You absolutely have a right to this information! Consult an attorney about getting filing an action to compel production of the accounts and related documents in the Probate Court. There's a very good chance that the Court will order the trust to pay your legal fees; and if your sibling has actually been engaged in wrongdoing, the court may order that sibling to pay your legal fees him or herself.

    E. Alexandra "Sasha" Golden is a Massachusetts lawyer. All answers are based on Massachusetts law. All answers are for educational purposes and no attorney-client relationship is formed by providing an answer to a question.

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