Informing children and other beneficiaries about a trust

| Feb 7, 2019 | Trusts |

One of the most common reasons for setting up a trust in Georgia, or any other state for that matter, is to generously provide for children or grandchildren. Typically, distributions won’t begin until many years later. Because of this, some individuals who set up trusts tend to hold off on letting children, grandkids, or other beneficiaries know about the wealth or assets that may be coming their way.

There are plenty of valid reasons for setting up trusts so that distributions are held back until a certain age is reached, or dished out with specific requirements or stipulations attached. Still, this is entirely different from the process of trust makers (settlors) officially letting beneficiaries know a trust exists. Some well-off parents or grandparents may wish to keep beneficiaries in the dark to avoid issues with extravagant spending and other reckless behaviors. But many states have either adopted a Uniform Trust Code (UTC) or similar laws that require trust beneficiaries to be kept reasonably informed.

However, a trust agreement can be set up in certain states in a way that waives the duty of the trustee to inform beneficiaries. Other states require the signing of a separate waiver to achieve the same goal. Another option in some states is for the trust holder to select a third party surrogate. This person would then receive the information that would normally be shared with beneficiaries. Some states also allow a trust protector to be named. This individual would then decide who receives trust-related information. Also, some states put a time limit on disclosure limitations for beneficiaries.

Because of all the possible variations with beneficiary distribution rules, it might be helpful for anyone setting up a trust to work with an estate planning attorney, especially one familiar with the guidelines that apply in Georgia. On the other hand, it’s just as crucial for trust holders to be mindful of the reason for requirements about keeping beneficiaries in-the-know in the first place – to monitor the trustee’s actions to make sure they are acting responsibly and in accordance with all relevant party’s best interests.