If you’re the beneficiary of an inheritance or a trust, there are important beneficiary rights that you need to be aware of and to understand. These beneficiary rights are often overlooked and as the beneficiary of an inheritance or trust, you are left with nothing but a guess as to where you stand in regards to your position as a beneficiary. This can be problematic for a number of reasons, for example, you cannot plan for the financial future of your inheritance or trust without knowing the exact amount available to you.
Knowing Your Beneficiary Rights as a Trust or Inheritance Beneficiary
It isn’t uncommon for beneficiaries of trusts or inheritances to be left in the dark when it comes to the settling of an estate, but as a beneficiary, it’s your RIGHT to be informed. Trustees and personal representatives are obligated to give you answers and Weidner Law can show you how to enforce your rights so that you no longer have to be left in the dark. You are entitled to know exactly how much you’re entitled to receive, how much the other beneficiaries are entitled to receive and how much professionals, like lawyers, and non-professionals, like trustees, are receiving in compensation.
Let’s take a look at these rights in a little more detail…
Your Beneficiary Rights to Initial Complete and Annual Accounting
One of the most important rights every beneficiary needs to understand clearly is their right to know – down to the penny – how much money you are entitled to receive.
This begins with knowledge of how much money is left at the outset.
Then, once you receive the initial documents, trustees (whether they are professional or not) have an obligation to provide annual accountings to you. They may provide accountings more often, however, they must be provided at a MINIMUM of once a year.
Now, depending on the size of the trust or the complexity of the assets involved, you may need to have professional assistance to understand exactly what’s happening with the money…your money according to these accounting records. If you are unsure where to begin with trust accounting or inheritance accounting, talk to a probate attorney like one of our skilled probate legal professionals here at Weidner Law.
WARNING- DO NOT WAIVE YOUR BENEFICIARY RIGHTS TO RECEIVE ACCOUNTINGS!!!!
Oftentimes when you receive the initial beneficiary paperwork for your trust or inheritance there will be a document slipped inside that asks you to waive your right to receive a detailed accounting of the trust or estate. You may also receive this document at some point during the probate process.
Whatever you do DO NOT sign this document.
As a beneficiary, this is your inheritance or trust which means that it’s your money and your beneficiary rights allow you to know down to the very last penny, how it is being used.
Understand What Your Trustees Role Is
During the stressful time in which an estate or trust is being settled, it’s easy for tempers to flair and for trustees and beneficiaries to get into conflicts for no other reason than frayed tempers. If this happens, it’s important for you to remember that YOU are the beneficiary and THEY are the trustee.
The trustee has been placed in a position of TRUST and with that trust comes a responsibility to understand their obligations. One of those key obligations is to be responsive to the beneficiaries that they serve and one of their first responsibilities in this role is to provide a timely and accurate report of detailed information that is required by statute. (Note: In Florida, the requirements of trustees are incorporated into statutes, in the case of trust administration and in the Florida Probate Code in the case of Estate Administration.)
Assert Your Beneficiary Rights!
Asserting your rights and making sure that you receive not just the money that belongs to you but the answers that you are entitled to in a timely fashion is something that you shouldn’t be afraid to speak up about. If you do have trouble asserting your beneficiary rights, though, well…that’s something that, frankly, we are very good at! Let Weidner Law stand up for your beneficiary rights and get you the money and answers that you are owed!