Georgia residents who are beneficiaries of trusts may sometimes experience a breakdown in communications with the trustee. This is not an uncommon situation when a trustee is trying to follow the wishes of the settlor while the beneficiaries are concerned about getting the assets that were left to them. However, it usually does not indicate deliberate deceit on the part of the trustee.
Beneficiaries who find themselves in this situation should begin by simply trying to contact the trustee. It is possible the trustee might not even know that beneficiaries are unhappy with the trust’s administration. Beneficiaries also have a right to a copy of the trust agreement. They might want to contact an attorney if the trustee will not share the agreement or if they review the agreement and find that the trustee is not sticking to its provisions.
Trusts are documents that are legally enforceable, and a trustee is obligated to follow its provisions. It is best to try the above methods before turning to litigation, but if necessary, a judge may make a trustee administer a trust correctly.
A person who is creating a trust might want to discuss its provisions with the beneficiaries and the trustee to ensure that everyone understands it and to open the lines of communication. Trusts can be useful in a variety of situations including caring for special needs relatives or minor children, donating to charity or preserving wealth for future generations. People who are creating an estate plan may be unaware of all the vehicles that are available, and an attorney who has experience with these matters can provide advice regarding their options.