Q: Was advised to direct all questions to attorney rather than Trustee and now she won't respond. What are my rights?
My brother retained an attorney to assist him with distribution of trust assets. He provided "accounting" that I disputed. A certified letter was set to the attorney per his (Trustee's) instructions in the paperwork with accounting. Going on three weeks and still no response from lawyer with regard to disputes. Since he informed me to direct all questions to attorney, does she have a responsibility to respond? He had a loan from my father but the amount he indicated as estate asset was not accurate. I requested proof of the additional payments he claimed to have made. I advised that if he did have proof I would withdraw my dispute but still no response.
A: No, the attorney doesn't necessarily have a duty to call you back. Under the trust code, a trustee has a duty to send certain information to qualified trust beneficiaries. That sounds like what you received with the accounting. If you are a qualified beneficiary of the trust, you also have a right to request reasonable information about the trust. If your request is reasonable, the trustee has a duty to give you the information. But if the trustee or his attorney believes your request is not reasonable, then they don't necessarily have a duty to give you the information you want.
If you dispute the accounting and there has been no response from the trustee or the trustee's attorney, then you could hire your own attorney to communicate with your brother's attorney and see if they can work it out. Or, you could file a petition for supervision of the trustee in the probate court. The probate court has jurisdiction to adjudicate disputes like this that come up during trust administration.
As always, you get what you pay for. Be sure to talk to a qualified attorney about your specific situation before choosing to rely on any information you get from internet discussion boards, such as this one.
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