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Do you have to distribute the trust agreement to the beneficiaries?

Lake Villa, IL |

I am the trustee of the trust and executor of the will. My aunt is requesting copies of the trust agreement. I filed the will and provided her copies of the will. She is calling me daily to see the trust.

Attorney Answers 5


  1. If your aunt is a beneficiary under the trust, then yes, you must provide her with a copy. If she is not a beneficiary of the trust, then you are not required to provide it to her.

    ***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois and have an office in Kane County. 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. I hope you this answer helpful.


  2. The trustee of the trust needs legal counsel to advise on questions like this. Typically, the trustee should freely provide copies of trust documents to the beneficiaries.

    The comments above are not legal advice and do not create an attorney-client relationship: you haven't hired me or my firm or given me confidential information by posting on this public forum, and my answer on this public forum does not constitute attorney-client advice. IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: In order to comply with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. While I am licensed to practice in New York and California, I do not actively practice in New York. Regardless, nothing said should be deemed an opinion of law of any state. All readers need to do their own research or pay an attorney for a legal opinion if one is necessary or desired.


  3. I agree with both counsel. Its simply good practice. You dont want the appearance that you are hiding something. That said, if your are concerned about something, dont share it here. Hire counsel and discuss it with him or her.

    In California, the trust is required to be provided to the heirs not just beneficiaries. But thats California. Good luck.

    The general advice above does not constitute an attorney-client relationship: you haven't hired me or my firm or given me confidential information by posting on this public forum, and my answer on this public forum does not constitute attorney-client advice. IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: In order to comply with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. While I am licensed to practice in New York and California, I do not actively practice in New York. Regardless, nothing said should be deemed an opinion of law of any state. All readers need to do their own research or pay an attorney for a legal opinion if one is necessary or desired.


  4. In many states a trustee has a legal obligation to send a specific notice to all beneficiaries within 30 days of becoming trustee, and to provide a copy of the trust instrument to any beneficiary who requests one. Failure to comply with the statutory requirements may be grounds for removal as trustee. Trustees also have minimum fiduciary standards which they must meet. I suggest you retain a trust attorney to guide you through the process. Those attorney's fees would normally be paid out of the trust assets.

    Legal disclaimer: Louis D. Putney is a Florida attorney. As such, his responses to posted inquiries, such as the one above, are limited to his understanding of law in the jurisdiction in which he practices and not to any other jurisdiction. In addition, no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to constitute legal advice, nor to constitute the existence of an attorney/client or other contractual or fiduciary relationship, inasmuch as legal advice can only be provided in circumstances in which the attorney is able to ask questions of the person seeking legal advice and to thus gather appropriate information.


  5. In Illinois, you have two areas to look to that will provide you your answer. The first is in the Statutes. There are Statutes specific to Trust administration. In this case you will find that there is a minimum amount of disclosure you must make to the beneficiaires. One of which is to provide a copy of the Trust and another is to provide an inventory and accounting. In addition, the Trust instrument will provide some guidance or even add to the requirements. When there is a conflict between the two, unless the Statutes provide for an exception, you will find that you should lean towards the Statutes. If your Aunt is a beneficiairy of the Trust (not just an heir or legatee of the probate estate), a copy of the same should be forthcoming.

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