My family has a trust with my parents listed as the trustees, settlors, and beneficiaries, and me, my sister, and my nieces are listed as contingent beneficiaries. The trustees are egregiously mismanaging the trust, and I want to obtain a full accounting, but the attorney who wrote the trust stated that only the trustees, settlors, and beneficiaries are able to request an accounting, and that even if I can prove egregious mismanagement of funds, I as the contingent beneficiary cannot have an attorney put in a motion for an accounting. Is this correct? Is there any way to combat this?
4 Answers from Attorneys
Since your parents are the settlors and the trustees, they probably have unfettered authority to do what they want... It really is their money to do with what they want. You are not entitled to an accounting. Because you gave no legally protected interest. If it is a revocable trust, they can dissolve it at any time...
The assets in the trust are assets that belong to the settlors, who are also listed as the trustees and beneficiaries, over which you have no authority, right or control, rendering the attorney's opinion to be correct, that you do not have any right to petition for an accounting, even if you could prove egregious mismanagement of the assets, as the assets are theirs (settlors, trustees, and beneficiaries) alone to be used anyway they see fit.
If you think your parents are incapable of properly handing their money (not to your possible detriment, but to their own) you can petition the court for conservatorship. Not recommended unless your parents have dementia.
Your rights are dependent on the terms of the trust itself. If, as it sounds like, this is a revocable trust, your partents can do anything they want with the assets, including giving them away. It is impractical to answertyour question without access to the trust document. Things are quite different if an irrevocable trust is involved.