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  1. #1
    ramo4ma is offline Junior Member
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    Distribution of trust assets

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? MA

    My family is involved with a trust in which we are the beneficiaries along with two other parties (all are imm. family members). The family member passed away in 2004 and had real estate, cash and cds in the bank. Some of the property has been sold and some has not, however there is a large amount of cash that is sitting in the bank and we are wondering if there is any law that stipulates the distribution of the cash in the bank in MA? I was told that the trust had up to one year after the date of death to distribute any cash in the bank to the beneficiaries. If this was true, then a distribution should have taken place in 2005, but nothing has happened.

    This is a trust in which there was a will and one of the other two parties I mentioned above is the executor of the will.

    Just looking to get some solid direction on a next step as this has really caused tension in our extended family and I am trying to relieve some of that tension.

    Thank you for all the help.
  2. #2
    curb1 is offline Senior Member
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    What did the bank say when you said you were coming to get the money? You need to find the person who is holding up the payment. Ask questions and work toward the source of the problem. Unless there is some problem that you haven't mentioned, there easily could/should have been at least a partial distribution.
  3. #3
    TrustUser is offline Senior Member
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    wills and trusts do not intermix. an asset is solely controlled by one or the other - never by both.

    as far as money in the bank, the first question i have is how is the account titled ? if it is in trust, then there should be a trustee listed in the bank records, who can manage the account. and from what i have seen, there is usually a successor trustee listed, as well.

    if the trust document is specifying differently than the bank records, then you will need to take the trust document to the bank. one way or the other, it shouldnt be a big deal.

    if the bank account is part of the estate and controlled by the will, then you need court papers designating the executor before the bank is gonna release funds. the bank does not want to be on the hook for giving out funds to one person, only for another person to come back at them as the rightful owner.
  4. #4
    ramo4ma is offline Junior Member
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    Our estate (which I am the adminstrator) and two other people are the beneficiaries for this particular trust. The person who controls the trust is the executor of the estate; they are one of the two other people mentioned above.

    The executor of the trust controls all assests ( including remaining real estate) and cash in the bank.

    I was looking to see if there was any time limit really for the when the executor had to distribute the cash in the bank since it has been 4 years since the person passed.

    I had heard that they (the executor) had to distribute it within one year of the passing of the person but the will nor the trust specifically specifies that in the will.

    Just seeing if I can make some head way on this because this is really riping family relationships apart and I am trying to stop the fighting.

    Thanks
  5. #5
    anteater is offline Senior Member
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    You are still mixing and matching terms which causes confusion.

    A probate estate is administered by an Executor/Personal Representative/Administrator. The title used varies by state and whether there is a will or not.

    A trust is administered by a Trustee, not an Executor.

    Therefore, what you mean by, "Our estate (which I am the adminstrator) and two other people are the beneficiaries for this particular trust..." is unclear.

    In any event, it seems that is irrelevant since you seem to be referring to assets in a trust and the actions or lack of actions by the trustee. For purposes of your question, it appears that you are a beneficiary of this trust.

    I had heard that they (the executor) had to distribute it within one year of the passing of the person but the will nor the trust specifically specifies that in the will.
    It would be helpful if you mentioned where you had heard this.

    I know of no law that requires that assets be distributed from a trust within one year. If you feel that the trustee is unreasonably delaying the distribution, your remedy is to petition the courts to compel the trustee to make the distribution.
  6. #6
    TrustUser is offline Senior Member
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    the trust specifies how the assets are to be distributed.

    have you seen a copy of the trust ? i am pretty sure that in most, if not all, instances - the beneficiaries have the right to a copy of the trust.

    some times assets can be left in trust, whereby the income is distributed to the beneficiaries.

    some times assets can be left in trust, such that they are distributed over time. this can occur especially if the beneficiaries are young, and the parents dont want the kids blowing all their money at an age while they are still unwise.

    if the trust simply tells the trustee to distribute the assets to the benes upon passing, i see no reason at all why it should take 4 years. there may be some reasons as to why to hold on to stocks and real estate. but there is nothing to do to distribute monies from the bank.

    and if assets such as r.e. and stocks are not sold, you should be receiving rent or dividend income.

    are you sure that the funds are still in the bank ? the bank is not required to oversee what the trustee does with the money. their only obligation is to deal with the trustee like they would any other depositor. i would ask for a copy of the current bank statement. past ones as well, to see what sort of monies were withdrawn.
  7. #7
    ramo4ma is offline Junior Member
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    Yes, I am a court appointed administrator for my deceased family members estate in which they were a child of the person who died and had all this assets.

    I keep getting paperwork stating that it is a revokeable trust and the person who was appointed to oversee the will/trust is also a child of the person who died.

    It was just mentioned to me that they thought all money in a bank account had to distributed by a certain date and that is really why I came here because it is tearing the family apart.

    I will research the going to the courts to see about getting it done but it has been 4 years, what is another 4!

    Thank you all for you help.
  8. #8
    Dandy Don is offline Senior Member
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    There is a time limit but that is not the main thing that you need to be concerned about.

    If you could find out just a few basic facts as you were advised to previously, you could make significant progress in finding out what you want to know.

    Do you have a copy of the revocable trust (which became irrevocable when the grantor died)? Are you or the persons you represent named as beneficiaries in the trust? If the answer is yes, then that is the only way you will be entitled to ask the TRUSTEE of the trust for information (your request to the trustee for a copy of the trust and an accounting statement should be by certified mail and not just verbal/oral). Is the bank account even mentioned in the trust? I doubt it. How much money are we talking about here?

    What is important is HOW THE BANK ACCOUNT IS TITLED--is it in the name of the trust or is it possibly in the names of one or more account co-owners? If it is in the trust it should be distributed by the trustee to the beneficiaries. If it is NOT in the name of the trust, then it is possible that under the concept of right of survivorship the money belongs automatically to whoever's names are on the account and therefore have nothing to do with the trust.

    The only justifiable reason for money to be withheld or set aside is to perhaps prepare or plan for the possible trust tax liability.

    If you have any doubts about how to proceed to claim this money for the beneficiaries and if you think the trustee is deliberately withholding it, you need to be consulting with a trust attorney about how you should proceed.

    DANDY DON IN OKLAHOMA (tiekh@yahoo.com)
  9. #9
    curb1 is offline Senior Member
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    I can't believe you have waited four years to check this out. Who is the Trustee of the trust? What did that person say when you asked for the money to be distributed?
  10. #10
    ramo4ma is offline Junior Member
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    I will find out the bank account in how it is actually written, I am pretty certain that it is has the trust in the name.

    Mid Six Figures.

    Don't get me wrong, I just did not wake up and say "hey what is going on here" but talking is getting us no where.Some real estate has sold and there is still more to be sold.

    Personally me and my siblings don't care about how long it takes because the money was not ours to begin with (it was our family member) and it stated in the will that if they died (our family member) that we would benefit which is the case now.

    It is really staining our aunt and she needs the money more than we do plus this really stained a lot of relationships in our family because of the length it has taken. I took care of my family members assests in just over a year, took our losses on the house and moved on, the best thing I ever did.
  11. #11
    curb1 is offline Senior Member
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    Who is the trustee of the trust? What reasons has this person given for not disbursing any of the trust assets? There sometimes is a problem with trustees prudently handling the assets. Has there been an annual accounting given to the beneficiaries? Something is not right. I sense that the lines of communication have deteriorated.
    Last edited by curb1; 04-03-2009 at 06:50 PM.
  12. #12
    Dandy Don is offline Senior Member
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    The will and the trust are 2 different instruments are administered independently of each other. So what you were told about the will really has no direct connection to the trust and the trust can specify something entirely different, although it still might work out in your favor after all of the details are looked at.

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