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Trustee - Qualified Beneficiary Rights (document request partially ignored)

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CJMZ

Junior Member
What is the name of your state? Connecticut

I received a letter from my Grandmothers Trustee (my uncle) that I am considered a qualified beneficiary, along with my father, two siblings and two cousins. It goes on to say as such I am entitled to request a copy of trust documents and annual reports. This is a testamentary trust (according to probate court)

Questions are two part(a somewhat tangled scenario). Several years ago, my uncle had my grandmother(94) sign papers to assign himself as trustee, remove her a sole trustee to be a trustor and removed my father as co-successor trustee. He also had her sign a power of attorney and used that to remove my family from access to her medical affairs. Once she signed, he went to probate the next day and filed to have her declared incompetent. My grandmother did not read English and signed under false pretenses. He told her to sign the document so that he could help her file taxes and she had no reason not to believe him. A probate hearing was held and she was found incapable - however, the probate judge couldn't address the trustee assignment since it didn't fall under his jurisdiction, the power of attorney was voided and I was assigned conservator of person. Superior court said my father was now only a beneficiary of the trust and had no standing until she passed away.

Now she has passed and once I received the letter, I requested the trust documents and annual reports from the trustee. I received the trust documents, but not all amendments and no annual reports or financial records received.

Question 01:
As a qualified beneficiary, can I question the validity of his trustee assignment even though it has been a number of years? What he did was not my grandmothers wishes, but he is a bully and she could never stand up to him. She cried for months and months once she figured out what he did. She was assigned a lawyer through probate, but that lawyer was not her advocate, it was a mess. Ideally, the trust would revert to the two sons being co-successor trustees as she originally wanted.

Question 02:
What is his reporting responsibility as trustee. He paid himself between 800-1000 per month to handle trust matters and almost the same in mileage. He paid my aunt(his wife) 500-700 to pay my grandmothers bills. As a qualified beneficiary can I ask for trust tax returns, receipts for work done (she had numerous rental properties), schedule of fees for his/her services? My question is how much information/details can I ask for and expect to receive?

He did provide monthly bank statements to my father after a probate hearing required him to do so and submitted an "accounting" two years ago, but all it did was take the line items from bank statements and put them in categories, not helpful in determining how he managed the properties. He continuously under-rented apartments, has outstanding liens and fines on the properties, had massive repairs completed with no receipts or explanations and probate court did not/could not question his ability, which was lacking.
 


Dandy Don

Senior Member
So you should have consulted with an attorney before now, when you were told that the judge did not have jurisdiction, so that perhaps another trustee or a successor trustee could have been appointed.

It's going to be somewhat difficult to get a trustee removed without cause, and as yet you have shown no reason why he should be removed.

Did anyone check your grandmother's bank accounts, her other financial assets, and life insurance policies and pension benefits to see whether he used the POA to change beneficiary designations to someone else's name (which would have been illegal)?

The trustee fees and other expenses seem to be somewhat excessive, but only an attorney can tell you whether his trustee fee is reasonable or not because Connecticut law allows "reasonable" trustee fees without specifying exactly what the percentage amount is.

Get a trust attorney to make the request for the acounting report, as the trustee is more likely to provide it if he knows that he can't just brush off an attorney like he brushed you off.
 

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