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Do you know your rights as a trust beneficiary?

On Behalf of | May 3, 2017 | Trusts

A trust is a legal document that allows a person, usually called a “grantor,” to give their assets to another person or institution to manage, called the “trustee.” The trustee holds the legal title for these assets on behalf of the beneficiary or person who is receiving the assets from the grantor.

Trustees have a fiduciary duty to administer the trust according to its terms. The trustee is responsible for collecting assets for the trust and making sure they are protected according to the trust’s terms. They are also responsible for overseeing any investments, reporting and paying taxes and keeping a record of every transaction.

Specific state laws will dictate the legal action you can take a trust beneficiary. However, understanding your rights and what options may be available will help you protect your rights and make sure the trust is handled according to the grantor’s terms and wishes.

Trust beneficiaries should be aware of their rights, which include:

  • The right to receive payments in accordance with the terms of the trust
  • The right to receive information about the trust and how they can enforce their rights
  • The right to an accounting of all income, expenses and distributions from the trust
  • The right to remove or replace the trustee if the trustee has violated their fiduciary duties

Beneficiaries can request the trustee to provide a special accounting of their management of the trust. If you suspect the trustee has violated his or her duties or is not following the terms of the trust, requesting a special accounting of the assets is one of the first steps to take.

Taking legal action

You have the right to pursue legal action if you believe the trustee has violated his or her duties or if the trustee fails to provide proper documentation of all activities managing the trust. Legal action can result in the removal and replacement of the trustee and help protect your rights as a beneficiary.

These cases are complicated and require an understanding of trusts and probate court. A probate attorney can help you better understand your rights and what legal options may be available if you need guidance or suspect the trust is not being managed properly.

I am David R. Hartwig, Esq., a Salt Lake City attorney with extensive experience helping parents resolve simple or high-conflict custody issues reaching arrangements that work for children and parents. Child custody involves parent-time and visitation schedules, and can affect support. I help in all of these areas, providing comprehensive service clients need to achieve their custody goals.

Factors In Child Custody Decisions

As an experienced Utah child custody lawyer, I understand that custody cases may become a contentious issue even years after an order is finalized. The trend in Utah toward joint custody often creates messy, unworkable situations, which ultimately lead to enforcement issues when parents do not abide by their custody orders.

The best interests of the child must be considered, including:

• Whether joint legal or physical custody will benefit the child’s physical, psychological and emotional needs, or the child’s development

• The parents’ ability to give first priority to the child’s welfare, and reach shared decisions in the child’s best interest

• Whether each parent is capable of encouraging and accepting a positive relationship between the child and the other parent

• Whether both parents participated in raising the child before the divorce

• The distance between the parents’ homes

• The parents’ maturity and their willingness and ability to protect the child from conflict that may arise between the parents

• The parents’ ability to cooperate with each other and make decisions jointly

• Any history of, or potential for, child abuse, spouse abuse, or kidnapping

• Any other factors the court finds relevant

Despite the complicated and sensitive nature of custody matters, I have helped many clients successfully establish custody orders.

Get Help With Your Child Custody Issue

If you have a child custody issue, please contact me, David R. Hartwig, Esq. I am an experienced Salt Lake City custody lawyer dedicated to helping clients resolve complex custody issues and implement necessary custody orders. For high-conflict cases, I am also one of the few Utah child custody modification attorneys trained as a Special Master for ongoing dispute resolution.

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