Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Illinois

My father dies recently in IL and has a family trust. My step mother is alive . I am his only legal child may I receive a copy of hid Family trust?

Asked on 5/04/13, 3:09 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

James Siebert Law Office of James C. Siebert & Associates

In general, only the beneficiaries of a Trust have any rights in regard to that Trust. So, if your father did not name you as a beneficiary under the family trust you have no rights in regard to the Trust. This is always a practical problem because children and other possible beneficiaries have no way of knowing whether they in fact are named as beneficiaries under a Trust. So, if your step-mother refuses to tell you anything, unless your father prior to his death advised you that you were a named beneficiary, you have no way of knowing if you are a beneficiary and therefore entitled to certain rights.

In Illinois, even if you are a beneficiary Illinois Trust law does not give you the automatic right to see a copy of the Trust. Illinois is one of the few states that has not adopted the Uniform Trust Code. Under the Uniform Trust Code a trustee has to promptly deliver a copy of the trust documents to any beneficiary after a written request. Illinois Trust law gives income beneficiaries some more limited rights. Under Illinois Trust Law if you are a beneficiary of your father's trust and are entitled to receive income from the Trust, then the Trustee is required under 760 ILCS 5/11(a) to furnish you at least annually a current account showing the receipts, disbursements and inventory of the trust estate.

I would recommend hiring a Trust or Elder law attorney to advise you how to proceed. Perhaps a written request from the Attorney could get you a copy of your father's Trust. If not then the Attorney could advice you of the risks associated with bringing an action against the Trust and your step-mother when you have no idea if you are entitled to anything. Good luck.

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Answered on 6/30/13, 5:39 pm

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