Q: Trustee wont give beneficiary trust statements? Im a beneficiary. After the trust was liquidated, the trustee wants all the beneficiaries to sign a waiver to a formal accounting to save money, before writing pay out checks to beneficiaries. I wanted to see the informal accounting first and was sent a basic excel format that listed final decedent fees, lawyer/cpa/trustee fees, the credits of some real estate and banking accounts and the total amount. I wasn’t very satisfied with it so I asked to see the trust statements and the trustee says no, because they’re sensitive documents. Is this normal? I’d like to avoid formal accounting too, but I don’t exactly trust the trustee not to self deal. What’s the worse case scenario he could do? Any recommendations? Thanks.
Keith’s answer: There is an intermediary step here, you can ask for an “informal accounting”–that is an accounting that meets the requirements of Probate Code section 1061, but not have it filed in court. Once you review the informal accounting, then you can decide if you want a formal accounting filed with the court. An accounting that meets the format requirements of Probate Code section 1061 would give you all the information you need to understand the Trust transactions. You also should receive all the backup financial documents, such as bank and financial statements. You are entitled to that information (it is not “sensitive”) and you should obtain a copy before signing off on anything.