Knowing that a family trust exists can bring some peace of mind to the beneficiaries of that trust. You and others in this position may anticipate receiving funds over the course of several years or otherwise benefitting from the account based on the terms that apply. Of course, as a beneficiary, you do not have full control over the account.
Trustees play an important part in ensuring that the administration of trusts follows the applicable terms. Unfortunately, not every trustee chooses to act in an upstanding manner, and one could violate the fiduciary duty he or she owes to the trust and its beneficiaries. As a result, it may be crucial for you to understand a few of your rights as a trust beneficiary.
What should you know?
Though the trustee handles the affairs of the trust, you have the right to certain information as a beneficiary. Though the trustee may not inform you of every move he or she makes relating to the trust, the trustee should provide you and other beneficiaries with a detailed report on an annual basis that explains the income earned by the trust and any expenses paid by the trust. Essentially, this report should provide a detailed overview of the trust’s activities for the year.
This report could prove invaluable to you if you believe that the trustee is not acting in the best interests of the trust and the beneficiaries. The report may show risky investments and considerable losses, or you may suspect that the trustee has not provided accurate information in the report.
What can you do?
Though the trustee has control over the trustee, you do have a certain authority over the trustee because of the fiduciary duty the trustee owes to you. If you believe that the trustee has squandered trust assets, misappropriated the funds for personal use, made reckless investments to the detriment of the trust or carried out similar actions, you have the right to collect damages and to petition the court in efforts to have the trustee removed.
If you believe that a trustee has violated your rights as a trust beneficiary, you face a complex situation. You may need to take legal action in order to hold the trustee accountable for any wrongdoing on his or her part and to pursue compensation for damages resulting from that wrongdoing. Discussing your legal options and additional beneficiary rights with a Nevada attorney experienced in trust litigation may prove useful to you.