Lack of communication between the interested parties to a will or trust may be one of the most common causes of discord in estate planning. Here at The Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo, we often see an inherent level of mistrust between the beneficiaries of a will or trust and the trustee or executor. In the case of a trust, this may be due to you, as a beneficiary, feeling as though the trustee is only giving you the information that he or she feels that you need.
The California Probate Code states that upon your reasonable request, a trustee must provide you with both the complete terms of the trust as well as any information related to its administration that is relevant to your particular interest. The only exception to this is during the period of time in which a revocable trust may be revoked. Once the trust becomes irrevocable due to either the decree or death of the settlor, you can freely request any information regarding it.
Upon a change of trustee or the termination of the trust, the trustee is also required to share the following information with you and other beneficiaries:
- A statement reflecting any receipts or dispersal of principal or income.
- A statement showing the trust’s current assets and liabilities.
- The trustee’s compensation.
- A record of any agents hired by the trustee.
- A statement informing you of your right to obtain a court-ordered review of the trust, as well as the actions of the trustee.
- A statement placing the timeline for filing claims of breach of trust at three years from the date of the accounting.
When such statements are released, the information should reflect the actions of the last complete fiscal year, or the date since the last accounting.