When I speak to successor trustees, I cover the following dos and don’ts. If you feel they are not following these suggestions you must contact an attorney otherwise you are not insuring your inheritance rights.
Here are nine do's and one don't to get you started:
1. Do read the trust document. It sets out the rules under which you will operate, so you need to understand it completely.
2. Do create a checking account for the trust. All income and expenses should go through this account. While you can and should invest the money, a checking account will enable you to make distributions and payments and keep track of them.
3. Do keep the best interests of the beneficiaries in mind at all times. You have what's called a "fiduciarry" duty to them, which is an extremely high standard.
4. Don't have any personal financial dealings with the trust. For instance, you cannot borrow money from the trust or lend the trust money to anyone.
5. Do provide the beneficiaries and anyone else indicated in the trust with an annual account of trust activity. This can be a copy of the checking and investment account statements or a more formal trust account prepared by an accountant or attorney.
6. Do invest the trust funds prudently and productively. You cannot simply leave the trust funds in a savings account. And you can't put them all into a promising new company. You need to diversify the trust portfolio among stocks and fixed income securities. It is wise to get professional investment advice.
7. Do keep in regular contact with the beneficiaries to understand their needs.
8. Do be aware of any public benefits the beneficiaries may be receiving and make sure you do not jeopardize the beneficiaries' eligibility.
9. Do file annual income tax returns for the trust.
10. Don't fly solo. Get professional advice to make sure you are correctly fulfilling your role.
See an elder law attorney since this subject can be complex and other issues are created that you might require further information. My website below may have articles that may further be of interest to you on this subject. If you think this post was helpful, please check the thumbs up (helpful) tab below. Thank you!
My comments are not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship, are not confidential, and are not intended to constitute legal advice. Proper legal advice can only be given by an attorney who agrees to represent you, who reviews the facts of your specific case, who does not have a conflict of interest preventing the representation, and who is licensed as an attorney in the state where the law applies.
Dan W. Armstrong, Attorney
Law Offices of Dan W. Armstrong, P.A.
P.O. Box 1535
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32004-2479
(O) 904.280.0058, (F) 904.280.0109
Yes, this is possible. If there are other heirs they should have received a copy of the trust on the first death. You should consider hiring an attorney if you feel you have any rights in this trust.
Any individual seeking legal advice for their own situation should retain their own legal counsel as this response provides information that is general in nature and not specific to any person's unique situation. Circular 230 Disclaimer - Advice given in this response cannot be used to eliminate penalties with the IRS or any other governmental agency.
You are right to question the declaration. Estate planning attorneys use them in various ways and for a whole lot of reasons. You would not be the first to suggest they would like to see the actual document. This issue often arising with financial institutions. Their reason is simple, only the actual trust document can tell you exactly what it's says and even the best attorneys are only human prone to making mistakes. Your question is simply is it possible the DTC doesn't include a reference to all the beneficiaries. The answer is yes, it's possible. But don't confuse possible with probable. If you believe you may have a right to an accounting or review the trust document, I suggest you ask the trustee to see it and read it. If the trustee says you have no such right, ask them why.