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Attorney Randy Ratliff

Requesting an Accounting of a Trust

Estate Planning Lawyer Advising Nashville Residents on Planning for the Future

Trusts – both testamentary and inter vivos – can be helpful in the estate planning process. These vehicles can help minimize the tax on an estate, keep a “spendthrift” beneficiary from wasting their inheritance, and assist with Medicaid or TennCare planning. However, sometimes issues arise between a trustee and the beneficiaries of a trust. If you find yourself in this troubling situation, Nashville estate planning attorney Randy Ratliff can help. Attorney Ratliff not only drafts trust documents on a regular basis but also helps to administer many kinds of trusts as part of his legal practice in Davidson and Williamson Counties. He understands that trusts can be very useful but that situations can arise that call for a closer look into a trustee’s actions.

In the eyes of the law, a trust is a contractual document. It must be carefully examined in order to understand the rights, responsibilities, and obligations of people who are affected by the administration of the trust. It can be difficult to go beyond the “four corners” of the trust document in order to create additional terms, unless the law of the state in which the document was drafted or is being administered has provisions that apply automatically. In some situations, the wording of a trust document is ambiguous or contradictory; when this happens, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit (such as a petition for a declaratory judgment directing a certain action) in order to resolve the issue at hand.

Rights and Responsibilities of Trustees and Beneficiaries

The issue of whether a trustee is obligated to give an accounting can be a complex inquiry. While trustees have some general duties, such as being fiscally responsible and honest in their dealings, there is a possibility that a trustee’s duties may not include an accounting in a particular situation. In some cases, it is possible that the giving of an accounting may have been waived or that it has not been requested in the particular manner required by the trust document. However, this is not to say that the trustee can simply do as they please with regard to the funds or property entrusted to them; if there is mismanagement, waste, or outright theft, the trustee may be held liable for their wrongdoing.

If you believe that a trustee has not been living up to their duties with regard to a trust of which you are a beneficiary, you should talk to an established trusts attorney about your concerns. Together, you can formulate a plan for making sure that the trust is being handled appropriately and that any misdeeds by the trustee are discovered and promptly addressed. This process may include not only formal requests to the trustee but also possibly court action.

Speak to a Nashville Attorney About Requesting an Accounting of a Trust

The Randy Ratliff Law Offices, PLLC, handles a wide variety of trust, probate, family, Medicaid planning, and elder law issues. We serve all of Davidson and Williamson Counties, including Brentwood, Goodlettsville, Joelton, Franklin, Cool Springs, Antioch, Hermitage, and Madison. If you have a question concerning the administration of a trust, the probating of an estate, or the drafting of an estate planning document like a last will and testament or a durable power of attorney for health care, call us at 615-656-8282 or contact us online for an appointment. We recognize that dealing with these kinds of issues can be very difficult for everyone who is concerned. Nashville lawyer Randy Ratliff will make sure to do everything that he can to make you comfortable with not only discussing the details of your situation but also with feeling confident that you have worked out the best possible solution for your family. Confronting any concerns or uncertainties head-on is important to give yourself the peace of mind that you need to move forward with your life while feeling secure about your future.