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The Job of the Beneficiary

From time to time, beneficiaries ask: What is my job as a beneficiary to get my beneficial interest under the trust? A distribution under the trust, in other words. The answer is that the beneficiary really doesn’t have a job. The beneficiary owes no duties to the trust, under law, or under the trust terms, and doesn’t have to communicate in certain ways with the trustee.

The trustee does have a host of duties and a job to do pertaining to the beneficiaries’ interest in the trust.

When Should the Beneficiary Take Action?

The beneficiary doesn’t have a job, but that doesn’t mean the beneficiary can just say, “I’m not going to pay attention to any of this.” If a distribution is not being made by the trustee when it is required, if the trustee refuses to communicate, if the trustee doesn’t let you know what assets or liabilities are in the trust, then the beneficiary may want to look into that by consulting with a trust attorney. An experienced trust and inheritance lawyer can help you find out why the trustee is not giving you the information that he or she is required by law to provide.

While it’s not technically a job, you do have an interest as a beneficiary to make sure the trustee does what is required in administering the trust.