To answer your specific questions, you shouldn't need to speak with an attorney to initially request a distribution under HEMS, but you may (depending on the type of trust) need to make the request through the co-trustee. If the co-trustee refuses and you believe it is within your rights as beneficiary to receive the distribution, you may hire an attorney (as co-trustee) and, yes, the trust will typically pay for the attorney fees. If this is a spendthrift or special needs trust, you must be careful what you request distribution for to ensure that the purpose of the trust is not defeated. Musing further, a properly drafted SNT or spendthrift trust should not have named you as co-trustee. A good trusts attorney can take a look at the trust and advise you as to the best way to seek a HEMS distribution.
Carol Johnson Law Firm, P.A. : (727) 647-6645 : email@example.com : Wills, Trusts, Real Property, Probate, Special Needs: Information provided here is anecdotal and should not be relied upon or considered legal advice. Every matter is different and answers given here are general in nature and may not reflect current Florida law at the time you are reading this posting. Please contact me if you feel you need additional assistance with your matter.
The written terms of the trust usually outline when distributions can be made. The trust should also state whether a trustee can act unilaterally or if, when there are joint trustees, the trustees must act by majority.
In any event, since you are both a trustee and beneficiary, I suggest you contact your co-trustee to discuss the possibility of a distribution. If you are unsatisfied with the outcome contact a local attorney to review the trust and assist if necessary.
Answer does not constitute legal advice. Please call (727) 471-0039 or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you would like to discuss your Florida legal matter further. This answer is provided for informational and/or educational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Adam is a Florida Attorney practicing in areas of Estate Planning, Elder Law, Trusts, Probate, Guardianship, and Business Law. Actual legal advice can only be provided after completing a comprehensive consultation in which all of the relevant facts are discussed and reviewed.
The language of the trust would tell you your level of discretion and ability to act alone. If there are contingent beneficiaries be certain to do full accounting or have co trustee make these distributions. You do not want to abuse your power or even be accused of doing so.