“What Should You Expect as a Trust Beneficiary” by Attorney Colleen Sinclair Prosser
Annapolis trust attorneys provide representation to trust creators, or trust settlors as they are also called. Our legal team helps those who are interested in creating a trust to decide on the right trust type, to follow legal formalities for trust creation, and to create a legally valid trust document. Sinclair Prosser Gasior has helped many people to make effective use of different kinds of trusts in order to protect assets and to protect beneficiaries.
We also represent beneficiaries who stand to inherit from a trust. Inheriting money or assets held in trust can be very different in many ways from inheriting assets through a last will and testament. It is important that you know what to expect as a trust beneficiary and that you make smart decisions to protect your rights and to protect the inheritance that you should receive. Contact the Annapolis trust attorneys at Sinclair Prosser Gasior to find out the ways in which our legal team will assist you if you have inherited assets held in trust.
What do You Need to Know as a Trust Beneficiary?
If you have been named as the beneficiary of a trust, the implications of this will vary depending upon the kind of trust that was created and any conditions that were placed upon the transfer of trust assets in the trust document.
In many cases, a settlor will create a simple living trust for the primary purpose of transferring trust assets outside of the probate process. If this is the case, then the trust administrator who was designated in the trust document will simply begin the process of administering the trust after the death of the settlor. The trust administrator will take care of providing notice, addressing tax issues and facilitating the legal transfer of the trust assets to you as the trust beneficiary. You should become the new owner of the trust assets when the trust administration process is complete.
In other circumstances, however, things may become more complicated. For example, your loved one may have created a spendthrift trust with the goal of preventing you, as the trust beneficiary, from spending the money left to you too quickly or from losing the assets in the trust.
If a spendthrift trust was created, you are not going to be able to simply receive an inheritance, take ownership of trust assets and spend the assets as you see fit. Instead, you will receive income or assets from the trust according to specific instructions that the trust settlor created and you will not be able to control the trust assets at all. You will simply have to live with receiving the trust assets as doled out by a trustee who has a fiduciary duty to manage the trust assets for your benefit in a responsible way.
Some trusts will allow you to take direct ownership of trust assets, but only after certain conditions are met – such as graduating from college or getting married. If you stand to inherit from a trust that has conditions like this, you should make sure you are aware of exactly what you must do in order to inherit and you should work with an experienced attorney to find out how you can move forward with obtaining the trust assets after you have met the conditions.
Whether you stand to inherit right away and take ownership of trust assets after the trust administration, or whether you need to wait to inherit, or will receive your inheritance doled out over time, you need to make sure you understand your rights. You also need to ensure that the designated trustee is fulfilling his or her duty and protecting trust assets. Sinclair Prosser Gasior will help you to take appropriate steps to protect your inheritance and to ensure you can inherit in a timely a manner.
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