Is their an offer and acceptance in receiving trust documents?

Asked over 1 year ago - Plano, IL

I received trust documents from my parents naming me one of the beneficiaries of a trust several years ago. One of the stipulations is that moneys in the trust, while they are alive, are to be distributed for my kids education expenses among other things. My mom's dad did the same things, and she said this was one of the intents behind the trust. I have relied on this in paying for my kids' educations- However, they have never funded the trust with cash, and I have no money to pay for my kids' college educations. Was a contract formed by the fact that she gave me the trust documents and I accepted them, or is it completely at her discretion to fund the trust? Do I have any recourse here?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Judith Anne Schening

    Contributor Level 14

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree with the other attorneys. There was no contract created between you and your mom when she gave you a copy of her trust document. If the trust was not revocable, you may have a "detrimental reliance" claim, but your reliance would have to have been reasonable and foreseeable. Most likely the trust document says in the body of it that it is completely amendable and revocable during your mother's lifetime. Thus, it would not be reasonable to rely on it because it is expressly subject to change. Moreover, relying on money that isn't even there yet because the trust is not funded is probably not "reasonable" within the eyes of the law. Finally, you can't force her to fund it. It the trust were fully funded and irrevocable when she gave you a copy of it, that could be a different story.

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  2. Ray Choudhry

    Contributor Level 14

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The provisions of the Trust can only be carried out with Trust Assets. Looks like the Trust was never funded.
    Also, this could not be a surprise to you, otherwise you would have used it to pay for your kids' schooling up to now.
    The fact that she gave you a copy doesn't mean much.
    Lots of people hand out copies of their wills to their kids.
    They can still change them and often do.

  3. Eric Richard McLoughlin

    Contributor Level 7

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If the trust was not funded when it was created, it is most likely a revocable (living) trust. This type of trust is generally for the benefit of the grantor during their life. As is implied by the term "revokable", It can be amended or revoked during the grantor's life. Because of this, it confers no rights on the successor beneficiaries until their interest vests, which normally occurs at the death of the grantor. To gain a full understanding of your rights under the trust, you should consult with an estate planning attorney.

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