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Estate planning and issues with uncooperative trustees

When a trust is set up in Florida, the designated trustee is responsible for ensuring distributions are made in accordance with the wishes of the party or parties who established the trust. However, there may be times when a trustee acts in a way that appears uncooperative. For example, a grown child who is supposed to get access to funds when they reach a certain age may have difficulty getting that money from the trustee; or the trustee might make excuses for not adhering to the terms of the trust.

First of all, trust beneficiaries are entitled to receive a physical copy of the trust document to see firsthand how conditions are spelled out. A trustee may be within their rights to withhold funds from beneficiaries at their discretion. Should it appear that a trustee is not doing what they're supposed to do in accordance with the guidelines of a trust, it's often advised that a beneficiary set up a meeting with a trustee to determine the reasoning behind their actions.

In some instances, issues with distributions may be a simple misunderstanding involving a trustee not being fully aware of what they need to be doing. Other times, a beneficiary may not be aware of stipulations attached to distributions. If a beneficiary and trustee have a serious disagreement, legal action may be necessary. Normally, trusts aren't supervised by courts. However, it is possible to present the matter to a court by having it docketed. When this happens, a court would have jurisdiction over the trust in question.

When a disagreement with a trust arises, an attorney can attempt to amicably resolve the differences. Furthermore, possible issues with trusts may be avoided ahead of time with a document that's well-drafted by an estate planning lawyer.

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