Trusts & Estates

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Trusts & Estates

The Lesser-Known Duty to Inform and Report to Beneficiaries of a Trust

If you are currently serving as a trustee, the settlor may have asked you to withhold certain trust information from the beneficiaries, especially if the beneficiaries are their children. Such requests may appear reasonable. After all, many settlors believe that knowledge of a future inheritance could lead to fighting among the beneficiaries or prevent them from working toward their own financial independence. Even worse, such knowledge could lead to litigation. Despite these well-intentioned motives of the settlors, trustees may have a duty to provide certain information to the beneficiaries about the trust and its administration regardless of any contrary direction expressed by the settlor orally or under the terms of the trust. Therefore, the prudent trustee must familiarize him or herself with a lesser-known fiduciary duty: the duty to inform and report.

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