Beneficiaries often contact our firm and say that they want a trust accounting. An accounting is a great way to get informed about the trust administration. But not every situation calls for a full-blown accounting.
A full formal trust accounting, is a very involved process. There’s a lot that goes into a proper accounting. And, typically, you have to hire a professional accountant, or somebody who knows how to properly prepare a trust accounting. And it takes time and money and the trust pays for it.
But you, as a beneficiary, may not want all of that. You may simply want some disclosure – some transparency. And you can always ask for that. If you don’t need a full accounting, you may want to think about starting with asking the trustee to give you a report. Simply say to the trustee, “Tell me about what bank accounts the trust has, tell me about the brokerage accounts, give me a copy of the last three months’ worth of statements. Let me see the information for myself.”
Once you’ve been given that information and that transparency, you may be satisfied. It may be as simple as that, whereas you don’t have to get a full-blown trust accounting.
What Type of Trustee Do You Have?
So consider your options and consider the type of information you want. It also depends on the type of trust you have, and it depends on how cooperative your trustee is. If you have a trustee’s who’s communicative, trustworthy, and transparent with you, you might be willing to accept something less than a full-blown accounting.
On the other hand, if you have a bad trustee, you probably want to get a full accounting and you may want to go further and get bank statements and brokerage statements directly from the financial companies.
These are just some of your options when it comes to getting information about your trust administration.