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SourBill

Release of Trust Funds

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I'm a beneficiary of my late grandmother's (Illinois) trust. The executors have sent me a release to sign which states "I agree that the payment of this gift is in full satisfaction, distribution, and settlement of all property which is now due to me." After I return the signed release, they will send me a distribution from the trust. However, I've never seen the trust document itself, or any accounting of the trust assets.

Do I have a right to read a copy of the trust? If not, how can I sign a release that says this payment satisfies the trust?

Do I have a right to see an accounting of the trust? It's been about a year.

When I asked I was told that the trust was a long, complex legal document and it would be expensive and a hassle to send copies to all beneficiaries.

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I'm not a lawyer, but I am a recipient of a trust. DO NOT sign that until you see all documentation and accounting. It is their responsibility to pay to send you a copy of everything. You have the right to have a copy, no matter what they say. You also need a copy of the will to see exactly what you are entitled. You have to make sure you aren't getting cheated. Plus, you can't sign that you agree to something, if you have never seen documentation of what you are agreeing to? It sounds very off to me. You may want to consult a lawyer. Be sure to find out all costs up front. Any time you send them an email, or talk to them, you may be charged. Be sure the lawyer is familiar with estate law. If the executors are family, beware.

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I'm a beneficiary of my late grandmother's (Illinois) trust. The executors have sent me a release to sign

You mean the trustees, right?

Do I have a right to read a copy of the trust?

Yes.

how can I sign a release that says this payment satisfies the trust?

With a pen, a pencil, or any other writing instrument.

Do I have a right to see an accounting of the trust?

Yes.

When I asked I was told that the trust was a long, complex legal document and it would be expensive and a hassle to send copies to all beneficiaries.

That's not a good sign. I'm presently working on a case involving a deceased person who had 8-figures worth of assets. Her trust instrument is 53 pages long. I feel relatively confident that the trust of which you are a beneficiary is not nearly as long, so the notion that it would be either expensive or a hassle to send you a copy is pure and unadulterated bull s**t. As far as complexity, that's for you to worry about. The trustees only need to send you a copy of the trust instrument; they don't have to explain it to you.

You also need a copy of the will to see exactly what you are entitled.

No, the poster does not "need a copy of the will" and, in fact, probably is not entitled to a copy of the will. A beneficiary of a trust created by a deceased person is not also automatically a beneficiary of the deceased person's estate.

you can't sign that you agree to something, if you have never seen documentation of what you are agreeing to

Sure you can. It just might not be smart to do so.

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You mean the trustees, right?

Yes, sorry. I meant trustees.

I suggest you consult with a local Illinois Lawyer to advise you on this matter before signing any document regarding this trust.

I'm not an Illinois resident (although the trust is under Illinois law). Does it still make sense to consult (over the phone/email?) with an Illinois lawyer, or should I use a lawyer local to me?

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I'm not an Illinois resident (although the trust is under Illinois law). Does it still make sense to consult (over the phone/email?) with an Illinois lawyer, or should I use a lawyer local to me?

Since the trust is governed by Illinois law, and since the trustees apparently are in Illinois, you would want an Illinois attorney since an attorney in another state isn't going to know the ins and outs of Illinois trust law.

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