Can a Beneficiary Also Act as Trustee?
Some of the most common questions we receive from our clients interested in estate planning relate to beneficiaries and trustees—and where the lines between the two get blurred. We understand that it can be confusing to understand the difference. What’s more, if you have encountered a situation where this impacts you directly, you might be wondering about the best course of legal action. You might be fearful of overstepping your rights legally.
At Striegle Law, we encounter many clients dealing with this exact type of situation in Grand Rapids. Law firms are here for a reason: to provide legal guidance to those in unique circumstances and ensure they settle the matter as amicably and peaceably as possible. It is no different when conflict takes place between a beneficiary and a trustee.
But can you, as the beneficiary, actually step in? Let’s explain briefly how your rights are determined: by the terms of the trust, your status as beneficiary, and the Michigan Trust Code.
Terms of the Trust
The terms would have been established when the trust was written, and it’s important to keep in mind that not all trusts are created equal. Some are revocable while others are irrevocable.
According to MCL 700.7814, a trustee is obligated to “keep the qualified trust beneficiaries reasonably informed about the administration of the trust and of the material facts necessary for them to protect their interests.” If a trustee does not comply, the court can take action. At this point you may be granted permission to enforce the trust.
Are you confused by the terms of the trust, concerned about your status as beneficiary, or unsure if the Michigan Trust Code grants you permission to enforce the trust? Before you take any action, consult an attorney for a free consultation.