Oregon Beneficiary Representation
I’m a beneficiary of a trust. What should I expect to receive from the trustee?
Trust beneficiaries are generally given information so that they can protect their interest in the trust. In other words, the trustee manages the trust assets on behalf of the trust beneficiaries and the trustee needs to provide enough information so that beneficiaries have an opportunity to object if they see a red flag regarding the trust administration.
If the trust is currently revocable and the person who set up the trust maintains the right to modify the trust including the right to remove beneficiaries, you don’t have an actual interest in the trust, even if you are named as a beneficiary, because you can be removed as a beneficiary for any reason.
If the trust is irrevocable and you are named as a beneficiary, you have certain rights. However, you have more rights if the trustee is currently authorized to make distributions to you. You have less rights to information if your interest in more remote.
When do I need an attorney?
The role of an attorney is to meet with you, as a trust beneficiary, and explain what information you are entitled to receive. The attorney will also review the trustee reports and help you understand the reports.
If the trustee fails to provide enough information or reliable information to you (the beneficiary), you need options to force the trustee to provide the information. In some cases, if you did not receive enough information to protect your interests and you suffered a financial loss due to not receiving adequate information, your attorney can take appropriate legal action to reimburse you for the resulting losses.
How do I prepare to meet with an attorney?
You need to bring in copies of the trust agreement, any letters or reports from the trustee, and any agreements signed by the beneficiaries.