Requesting an Accounting of a Trust
Trustees hold a great deal of power over matters regarding managing assets and other trust issues. As a result, they also owe important duties to the beneficiaries of the trust to act in good faith and fair dealings. Unfortunately, not all trustees or executors honor those duties, sometimes comingling trust assets with their own or otherwise acting improperly. Beneficiaries may suspect a trustee of a breach of duty, but without certain information at their disposal, they may be unable to either substantiate or calm these fears. Beneficiaries therefore may choose to request an “accounting” of a trust in order to see what is really happening. The Nashville estate planning lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard PLLC can assist beneficiaries in making sure the information they are owed is given to them in a timely, complete, and truthful manner. We represent people throughout Williamson and Davidson Counties in all of their trust-related needs.Establishing a Beneficiary’s Right to an Accounting
In order to ensure that trusts are being handled fairly and competently, trustees must keep certain records and disclose certain information to beneficiaries. Trustees are also required to divulge any actions taken on behalf of the trust, including any distributions of money or property made to other beneficiaries. Detailed receipts for payments to creditors or other bills paid, as well as sales of property, must be listed on disclosures, identifying what was sold as well as who was involved.
Trustees, as fiduciaries of a trust, are required to act in the best interest of the trust’s beneficiaries. A trustee may breach his or her fiduciary duty in a variety of ways, such as by acting in his or her own self interest, engaging in fraud or misappropriation, or failing to respond to beneficiaries’ requests. An improper recording of an accounting is also a breach of duty that could lead to a trustee’s removal.
Beneficiaries may request an accounting for certain periods of time in order to obtain a detailed description of the transactions made during that timeframe. These requests are often made when a trustee has comingled funds or failed to disclose important information. If a trustee is not forthcoming, litigation may be necessary to make sure trust affairs are being handled properly. Even if you are given an accounting, it may be necessary to dive deeper into its contents to ensure they are truthful and accurate. Legal proceedings in estate matters such as these could involve complicated figures or other information that may require a more thorough investigation. Consulting a knowledgeable lawyer may be important in ensuring a trustee is fulfilling his or her duties.Contact an Experienced Nashville Lawyer for Your Estate Planning Needs
If you are a beneficiary who needs assistance with requesting an accounting of a trust, the Nashville estate planning attorneys at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard PLLC can make sure that your legal rights are asserted. We also represent clients in Franklin, Hermitage, West Meade, Sylvan Park, and elsewhere in Davidson and Williamson Counties. Feel free to contact us online or call us at 615-800-7096 to set up a free consultation with a trust litigation attorney.