My question is related to a person who is clearly not included within a trust. I am wondering that if this person requests a copy of a trust does the trustee have to give them a copy? Or can the trustee deny them the right to receive a copy? I understand that Ohio law tells us that a trustee must give notice to beneficiaries and answer their questions when they have them. But does a trustee still owe that same fiduciary duty to a person who is not included in a trust when they are asking for a copy? Is there any statute that helps address this problem?
The Ohio Trust Code provides a clear framework for trust administration, including the obligation to provide "accountings" but does not include any rights for non-beneficiaries. The trustee need not provide a copy of the trust to a non-beneficiary, or answer any questions.
Mr. Huddleston is an Ohio-Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law, with offices in Columbus and Dayton, serving client families and private business owners throughout Ohio. He may be contacted directly by phone toll-free at 888.488.7878 or by email [email protected] Mr. Huddleston responds to Avvo questions as a public service to help educate and provide general guidance to questioners, but his responses are not legal advice and do not create an attorney-client relationship.
The trustee does not need to provide a copy of the trust to the individual if such individual is not a beneficiary of the trust. From experience, I can say that it may or may not improve a situation. For instance, maybe the individual will leave you alone if he/she knows that he/she is not a beneficiary. However, the general rule is that you do not need to provide a copy.
In Pennsylvania, the trustee is only required to provide a copy of the trust to named beneficiaries in the document, they are not required to provide any information (including the trust document) to a person that is not "included" in the trust. The trustee must provide the trust and any accounting to only those persons that are entitled to that information and based on the information that you provided in your question, the person you are referring to has no right to a copy of the trust. You can consult with an Estate Attorney in your area and find out if what occurs in PA also applies in Ohio, I believe it does based on my colleagues answers above.
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