Does A Beneficiary Have The Right To See A Trust?


A living trust is a fiduciary relationship in which the creator of a trust grants a trustee the right to hold title to property and assets that benefit a third party. While trusts are generally associated with wealthy people, they are highly versatile and can be used for a wide variety of purposes. Usually, trusts are created to allow for property and assets to be passed onto beneficiaries, but they are also used for legal reasons and tax shelters.

While property and assets are placed in a trust, they are controlled by the creator of the trust and anyone appointed to be a trustee. As a beneficiary of a trust, even though you will eventually receive control of specific property and assets, you are not given access until one of two scenarios occurs. The first is that the trust’s creator passes away, and the second is if the trust lists a specified date, such as an 18th birthday.

Until one of the two scenarios occurs, beneficiaries do not have control over any property and assets in a trust. However, Arizona law requires trustees to keep beneficiaries informed about the items in trust and how they are managing them.

What is the Role of a Trustee in Arizona?

Under Arizona law, trustees must inform and report to the beneficiaries of a trust throughout the life of the trust. Usually, a trustee’s first job is to inform all of the beneficiaries of the creation of the trust and let them know that items in the trust are to be distributed to them according to the desire of the creator of the trust.

Trustees also have a duty to provide an annual report regarding each property’s and asset’s condition. They also must notify all beneficiaries within 60 days after a living trust becomes irrevocable due to the death of the creator of the trust. While trustees must be transparent with all beneficiaries, certain trusts forbid a trustee from divulging key facts to beneficiaries.

Arizona law does not allow for a trust to be made in secret. Thus all beneficiaries must be notified if they are included in a trust. In addition to this, Arizona law also requires a trustee to provide a copy of the portions of the trust that the beneficiary is appointed to receive. However, unless the creator of the trust directed otherwise, beneficiaries are not permitted to see any portion of the trust that they are not slated to receive.

What is Included in the Trustee’s Report?

A trustee has a duty to report to each current beneficiary of an ongoing trust annually. The annual trustee’s report includes an up-to-date list of all property and assets in the trust, any liabilities, and a record showing receipts stemming from costs associated with the care and maintenance of the assets in the trust.

What is a Beneficiary Able to See in a Trust?

If you are a beneficiary of a trust, you must be notified by the trustee of your involvement in the trust. In addition to this, the trustee must inform you of the assets and property you are granted in the trust, as well as they are required to provide you with up-to-date reports on each of these items. If you have not been informed of the property and assets you are the beneficiary of, contact JacksonWhite Law today to get help from our Arizona estate planning team.

Even though a beneficiary is listed in a trust, they are not entitled to know the entirety of property and assets that are included in a trust. Instead, Arizona law only requires beneficiaries to be informed of what they will receive. However, if the creator of the trust sees fit, they can stipulate that all beneficiaries are able to know the entirety of the contents of the trust.

Knowing Your Rights as a Beneficiary

Arizona has strict laws governing trusts and how they must be run. As a beneficiary, you are legally entitled to know the contents of the trust that you are appointed to receive as well, as you must be provided with up-to-date information regarding their values and any costs needed to maintain the items.

If you have not been informed of the assets you are appointed to receive or have not been kept up-to-date on the costs to maintain the assets, you may need assistance from an experienced probate attorney. Your lawyer can assist you with obtaining any pertinent information that a trustee is required to divulge as well as they can work on your behalf to ensure the assets are taken care of properly.

Call our Probate team at (480) 467-4365 to discuss your case today.

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