A trustee’s fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries of a trust involves a number of important legal maneuvers that must be carried out before anyone can expect to see money or property transferred from the estate. This is a sensitive time when the hair on everyone’s necks may be standing on end, and the limits of how much even close family members will trust each other to act in good faith can be tested. While it’s a fact that distribution can take some time depending on how complicated an estate is or how well one’s affairs were organized before death, it’s also true that sometimes trustees act in bad faith.
A failure to distribute attorney in Walnut Creek might be necessary if you seek to challenge a trustee you believe is unfairly withholding (or claiming for themselves or another beneficiary) something you are entitled to in a trust. It could be money or property, but when distribution of your inheritance is taking unreasonably long or you believe someone is acting to withhold something from you, it’s probably time to seek a lawyer’s help.
How Long Should Distribution Take?
Asset distribution is among the very last things a trustee must do before closing the estate. As a consequence, there are many other things that must be done beforehand that can cost a lot of time – like notifying and paying creditors as well as preparing a final tax return and paying off tax liabilities with the estate’s assets.
Because of these other legal obligations, a trustee must fulfill, beneficiaries could be waiting at least a year before they’ll see their inheritances. In most cases, a capable trustee can complete distribution within 12-18 months after beginning trust administration and as long as there are no problems or lawsuits initiated during the process. Preliminary distributions can be conducted before final distribution if beneficiaries are eager, but it’s the trustee’s responsibility to maintain control over how much remains in the estate to pay for unforeseen debts, tax bills, legal costs, and more. Should the trustee overextend the estate’s assets, he or she could be held personally liable to pick up the bill.
If you need legal assistance when you feel a trustee is withholding assets or you are accused of doing so, reach out to Feldman Law Group online to arrange a consultation with our failure to distribute attorney in Walnut Creek.