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What to Do if a Trustee Refuses to Act

trustee refuses to act

While the majority of trustees handle trust administration timely and adequately, there are times where a trustee refuses to act. There are steps that you can take to hurry the trustee along and protect your interest in a trust. You are entitled to a full accounting of the trust’s assets and to the timely distribution of the trust’s assets.

Through compelling a trustee to provide a full accounting and fulfill the bequests in the trust, a New York trust attorney can help you protect your rights.

Organizational Delays

It may take some time for the trustee to figure out what the trust needs him to do, hire an attorney and come up with a game-plan.

Delays in Marshaling Assets

Before the trustee can distribute assets, the trustee has to find the assets first. If the decedent did not leave a detailed list of the assets in the trust, then the trustee will have to perform multiple searches.

  • Look through the decedent’s documents
  • Find decedent’s safe deposit boxes
  • Search for real estate
  • Search for other assets

As long as the trustee is performing their duties, they are not refusing to act, even if they are not yet ready to distribute the assets.

Litigation Delays

If there is litigation involved, then there could be a more extended period going by before you can collect your inheritance. Different types of litigation can affect a trust.

  • A medical malpractice claim
  • A business dispute
  • Real estate eviction
  • The validity of the decedent’s will
  • The qualification of the trustee

Litigation can add years to a trust proceeding and may give an impression that the trustee is refusing to act.

If the Trustee Refuses to Act

Once a few months have passed and the trustee is still not releasing money or property left by the trust, then the trustee may be refusing to act.

We would first file a petition or an accounting of a trust, to get an idea of what the trustee is claiming is left for distribution. If there are disagreements over what is in the trust, we resolve those disagreements before moving on to the distribution stage.

Once the accounting is resolved, we file a petition to compel a distribution, to ask the court to force the trustee to stop refusing to act and to release the inheritance. This law is meant to protect you from a trustee who either is lax in handling their duties or is purposefully refusing to distribute the inheritance. The law lets you ask the court through a New York trust attorney to force the trustee to turn over property that you are entitled to.

If you would like to know more about your options when the trustee is refusing to act, you can call the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin at (212) 233-1233. You are welcome to make an appointment to discuss your situation.