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  1. #1
    debinca Guest

    Question Statute of Limitations on distributing funds from a Living Trust

    What is the name of your state? California

    My Grandmother had a Revocable Living Trust and she passed away in May of 1998. My half sister in Oregon is the Successor Trustee of that estate. She dispersed the "stock portfolio" in February of 2001 (finally!) . However, she has still not distributed to me, a direct, equal beneficiary in that Trust, named so, my share of the proceeds of the sale of a house that took place in 1996!
    I have delicately raised the question, "Are you about to finalize the estate and send me the balance soon?" about every 6 months. We have been on good terms. However, very recently, I finally told her, (as well in an email) that IT IS TIME. All IRS issues have been resolved, there are only two beneificiareies, herself, the Trustee and myself. It is time to distribute the funds. She continually goes into a litany about "how hard this has all been". However, I made it clear that she took this upon herself, etc. and I even offered to hire her an attorney to "assist" her. She declined.

    I am now not waiting any more. It has been 4 years and there are no outstanding debts or any issues for her to deal with.
    Is there a statute of LImitations for a successor trustee to disburse monies to beneficiaries? She lives in Oregon, my grandmother made the Trust in California.

    Please help!!!!
  2. #2
    I AM ALWAYS LIABLE is offline Senior Member
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    Location
    Los Angeles, California
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    38,165

    Re: Statute of Limitations on distributing funds from a Living Trust

    Originally posted by debinca
    What is the name of your state? California

    My Grandmother had a Revocable Living Trust and she passed away in May of 1998. My half sister in Oregon is the Successor Trustee of that estate. She dispersed the "stock portfolio" in February of 2001 (finally!) . However, she has still not distributed to me, a direct, equal beneficiary in that Trust, named so, my share of the proceeds of the sale of a house that took place in 1996!
    I have delicately raised the question, "Are you about to finalize the estate and send me the balance soon?" about every 6 months. We have been on good terms. However, very recently, I finally told her, (as well in an email) that IT IS TIME. All IRS issues have been resolved, there are only two beneificiareies, herself, the Trustee and myself. It is time to distribute the funds. She continually goes into a litany about "how hard this has all been". However, I made it clear that she took this upon herself, etc. and I even offered to hire her an attorney to "assist" her. She declined.

    I am now not waiting any more. It has been 4 years and there are no outstanding debts or any issues for her to deal with.
    Is there a statute of LImitations for a successor trustee to disburse monies to beneficiaries? She lives in Oregon, my grandmother made the Trust in California.

    Please help!!!!
    My response:

    Despite the fact that you and she are "family," write her a nice, but firm, Certified Return Receipt letter that you are considering suing her within 30 days - - that this is "business" and not a slight upon her familial standing; i.e., that she accepted the position of "Trustee" and Representative which is business, not personal. You will let her know that if the Trust "Res" is not distributed to you within that time, you will consider, and more than probably begin, a lawsuit for Breach of Fiduciary Duties, Accounting, and Damages.

    Some representatives lose sight of their fiduciary role as manager of the estate for the benefit of others: A representative "is an officer of the court and occupies a fiduciary relation toward all parties having an interest in the estate . . . [Representatives] occupy trust relations toward the legatees, and are bound to the utmost good faith in their transactions with the beneficiary . . ." [Estate of ****** (1999) 72 Cal.App.4th 1438, 1439-1440, 86 Cal.Rptr.2d 37, 40]

    See a Probate attorney as soon as possible.

    IAAL
    Last edited by I AM ALWAYS LIABLE; 06-25-2002 at 12:47 PM.
  3. #3
    Dandy Don is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    9,495
    If your grandmother died in California, then it is the trust law of California law that will take precedence.

    There may or may not necessarily be a statute of limitations on when the proceeds of a trust may be distributed (I'm not familiar with California probate law), but according to the terms of the trust, the proceeds are supposed to be distributed within a reasonable length of time soon after the death of the grantor (your grandmother). It only takes a few months for the affairs of the trust to be sorted out, and there is no excuse for your half-sister to delay and stall for years unless she is purposefully being mean or (hopefully not) may have stolen or misappropriated some monies illegally from this trust and doesn't want to be discovered.

    The trust has specific language in it (looks like a contract) that specifies the actions that the trustee must perform within a certain period of time, and you have the right to see what the original trust says.

    You have the right under the Uniform Probate Code as a beneficiary of the trust to send her a certified letter asking for a copy of the original trust document and an accounting/financial statement for each year the trust has been in existence. Send her such a letter and also request what I AM ALWAYS LIABLE told you to do: asking for the distribution and politely threatening a breach of duty lawsuit within 30 days (if it were me, I wouldn't give her 30 days, but would only give her 2-3 weeks), but that "you would prefer to spare her that embarrasment if possible".

    You could write the letter yourself, but it might carry more weight and authority if you could afford to hire a trust or probate attorney in the same city/county where she lives to write the letter for you on your behalf.

    It's a shame that she is not being more responsible in handling this matter for your benefit. Now you must be aggressive in standing up for your rights and not letting this half-sister get away with her negligence.

    Good luck to you!

    DANDY DON (tiekh@yahoo.com)
    Last edited by Dandy Don; 06-26-2002 at 11:06 AM.
  4. #4
    debinca Guest

    Cool

    Thank you for information. I will use it when I meet with my attorney on Tuesday.

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