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My mother is the Trustee of my grandmother's estate, and one of four beneficiaries. Is she allowed to disburse funds to herself?

Ada, OK |

The trust was created for four beneficiaries, two of which receive 1/3 and two who each receive 1/6 ( they are sisters). My mother is Trustee and also a beneficiary of her mother's irrevocable trust. The sisters have received 70,000 in disbursements, my mother has disbursed 48,000 to herself and the other party has received 24,000 with more on the way. The three other beneficiaries wish to have my mother removed as Trustee because they see her disbursement to herself as mismanagement. They have consulted an attorney who is threatening to legal action and my mother does not have the funds to hire an attorney to defend herself.

I forgot to add that my grandmother passed away in 2011, but they are demanding an accounting of the Trust from when my grandfather passed away in 2004. They are demanding my mother resign as Trustee and giving her three days to do so before they take legal action.

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Attorney answers 2


Are you talking about the same trust? Is there more than one trust? It is not uncommon for someone to be both trustee and a beneficiary, which is not in and of itself a problem. Sometimes people run into issues with interim distributions but so long as the terms of the trust are being followed a trustee is permitted to distribute funds to them self. Each beneficiary is entitled to information and an accounting to ensure that the terms are in fact being followed. You say that your mother does not have funds to defend herself= she is the trustee of the trust and so long as she is acting appropriately the trust should pay her legal fees. She clearly needs an attorney.

This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is informational in nature only. This attorney may not be licensed in the jurisdiction which you have a question about so the answer could be only general in nature. Visit Steve Zelinger's website:


I agree with Attorney Zelinger. Your mother needs an attorney. The trust will pay for it.

James Frederick

***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 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. I hope you our answer helpful!

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