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Have your rights as a trust beneficiary been ignored?

As a trust beneficiary, you have rights, which may depend largely on the language of the trust document. The complexity and length of the document are, in many case, intimidating for the trust beneficiary. If you suspect that your rights as a beneficiary have been violated or ignored, then you may need a legal professional to read and interpret the document to determine exactly what your rights are and how they have been violated.

General rights of beneficiaries include the right to be treated fairly by the trustee; to receive assets and distributions from the trust; to seek court intervention if a trustee is failing to properly administer the trust; and to ask the court to replace the existing trustee with another.

In some cases, trustees ignore the rights of beneficiaries by failing to disclose information related to the financial health of the trust. That information may include details about trust assets, as well as income and debts of the trust. As a beneficiary, you also have a right to information about the trustee or trustees.

Many trust disputes can be handled out of court through communication with the trustee. You can have a trust administration lawyer investigate your case and handle the out-of-court communication. In other cases involving a trustee's refusal to cooperate or wrongdoing, trust litigation is necessary to enforce the rights of beneficiaries.

Trust administration and tax law attorney Connie Yi, of the Law Offices of Connie Yi, has been helping Bay Area beneficiaries for more than 20 years. Her background in the financial industry, tax law and estate planning make her particularly qualified to handle a range of trust- and tax-related issues. To learn more, please visit our Oakland Beneficiaries' Rights overview.

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