Many lawyers set up trusts, at Giddens Law Firm we litigate trust cases. If you are a beneficiary of a trust that is being administered by a bank, you should know that the bank has certain fiduciary duties and obligations to you as a beneficiary. At Giddens Law Firm we have handled complex trust litigation against large corporate banks. Often times, a beneficiary will place their trust in a trust officer. It is a trust officer’s duty to be fair to all of the beneficiaries whether they are income beneficiaries or remainder beneficiaries. Often times trust administration officers fail to adhere to the four corners of the trust document by giving preferential treatment to one beneficiary over the other.
An example of a trust which has multiple beneficiaries is a QTIP trust (Qualified Terminable Interest Property) (a QTIP trust is a type of trust that enables the grantor to provide for a surviving spouse and also to maintain control of how the trust’s assets are distributed once the surviving spouse has also died).
A QTIP trust will normally name a spouse as a beneficiary. The trustee is required to pay at least annually all of the income derived from the trust. The trustee should have in place policies and procedures and regular income sweeps ensuring the income beneficiary receives all of the income generated. Often times a QTIP trust will have a provision such as a maintenance provision or a support provision which will allow the trustee, under certain limited circumstances, to invade the principle of the trust. This type of activity has to be documented. This is where many banks, trustees, financial institutions and fiduciaries run in to trouble. If principle is sold and/or liquidated, it has a negative impact on the remainder beneficiaries.
If you feel you have questions regarding your status as a beneficiary and what your rights are as income or remainder beneficiaries under a QTIP or other trusts, you should contact an attorney. At Giddens Law Firm, we understand trust law and we have the resources available to hold trustees accountable where they have failed in their duties. We litigate trust issues. Call today for a free consultation.