Chicago, IL asked in Estate Planning for Illinois

Q: What rights do I have as a beneficiary, can I have access to internal bank correspondence. Should I hire a lawyer.

Since ‘14 I’ve received monthly payouts from a trust set up by my brother & his wife. No taxes/fees were charged to me. He died in ‘19; she in ‘20. The only correspondence I have received from the bank over the years are quarterly reports. Yesterday, 4/6/22, I received an email notice from the bank that I owe taxes on the disbursements made in ‘21. When I called to question this, I got what seemed to me to be very vague answers – including that now that my brother and his wife are deceased, no one is paying the taxes. I told the bank that I had already filed my taxes for the year and that notifying me eight days before the taxes were due should not have happened. I also asked how much the taxes were and the bank said they did not know and I would have to ask my accountant. I’m in my 80s – and I hope you can tell by this – still sharp enough to feel something is going on. (I still am employed and people are happy with the work I provide.) Thanks.

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
Charles E. Hutchinson
Charles E. Hutchinson
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Wilmette, IL
  • Licensed in Illinois

A: It was very nice for your brother and his wife to leave you the money they did. It is even nicer that they filed and paid the tax for you. Yes, the taxes need to be paid. I cannot emphasize that enough. I would advise you to know who the trustee of the trust is so you can speak to that person. That Trustee should have sent you a form for filing purposes. My initial guess is that your brother and possibly his wife were the trustees, but now that they have passed, there is a new trustee who did not know that historically the trustee filed the taxes on your behalf and is unaware of the duties of a trustee.

If something is "going on" any payment will be made to the IRS so it is not like some person is going to receive that money as a swindle. I have seen this happen before, where the trustee dies and the new trustee doesn't know to file the taxes. Thankfully this was caught early so there are no fines or penalties for not filing in a timely fashion. If you have an accountant, call your accountant, they have the form and can file for you. If you don't have an accountant, the IRS will help you get the correct forms from their webpage.

And to answer your question about having access to internal bank correspondence. You do not have that right, and I doubt that they would provide it to you.

Best of Luck.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.