Get Your Inheritance
Here’s a sobering fact for those expecting a big payday from a trust or will:
Just because you’re named as a beneficiary doesn’t guarantee you’ll get your money after Dad passes. At least not right away. Or at least not without some legal wrangling to compel distribution, as the term is known.
While it would be bad for business here at Trust Law Partners, imagine how great it would be if, on the death of a parent or loved one, every will were executed quickly and accurately. If every dollar found its way to the rightful heirs without complaint or contest.
Sadly, the real world doesn’t operate that way. Sometimes, despite clear-cut instructions contained in a valid trust or will, the trustee or executor just refuses to give you your share of the inheritance. Can they do this? Legally, no. But, in truth, they can hold up the money train for a host of reasons that may seem logical to them, but which can make your life miserable, nevertheless.
Here are a few of the lame explanations trustees have given our clients for not receiving their rightful inheritance. Perhaps one of these is familiar to you.
“I’ll hold it for you for later.”
“Mom wanted me to have it, and she never wanted you to have it.”
“Your husband’s just going to take it from you; I’ll keep it safe.”
“You’re bad with money, so I’ll invest it for you.”
“I need the money right now, and you have plenty of it.”
Or, trustees might also just ignore you and stop responding to calls, texts and emails. Of course, this can be the most maddening situation of all.
Fortunately, if you’re encountering this sort of defiance you don’t have to sit, simmer and wait for these “untrustworthy trustees” to change their minds. From a legal standpoint there are no good reasons to hold your money if it’s rightfully yours. When this happens, Trust Law Partners will file a legal action to force the trustee or executor to distribute your money, and have a judge issue an order compelling them to do the right thing.
We have a lot of experience in these types of matters. Over the years, it’s been fascinating to uncover the true underlying reasons why estate trustees or executors hang onto assets.
- They need the money and are trying to steal it from you
- They’re controlling people who want to exert leverage over you
- You are in fact bad with money, and they think they’re actually doing you a favor by holding onto what’s coming to you
- They believe you’re incapable of handling the money, and might lose or be cheated out of it
Now, let’s take a step back and consider the possibility that a trustee truly believes he’s doing the right thing; that he may actually have some rational basis for withholding your money. Here is where a good, reputable and experienced law firm can save you the time, trauma and potential costs of a legal action.
Where some law firms would insist on legal action to compel distribution—and potentially ask for an upfront fee, we at Trust Law Partners would suggest a less confrontational way. At least to start. Instead of filing with the court we would recommend you and the trustee or executor first meet with a financial planner. The goal would be to craft a plan to help manage the money and minimize the risk of things going wrong. We’ve found that this cooperative, non-threatening approach often eases any fears trustees might be harboring, and provides much more control for our clients.
This is not to say we would shy away from a legal fight if necessary to get your money. In cases where funds are being stolen, or used improperly, we do act swiftly, since pilfered money tends to disappear quickly, and is much harder to recover.
If your trustee or executor is stalling on handing over your rightful inheritance, do not hesitate to take immediate action. Just have the presence of mind to know that, sometimes, the path of least resistance is the shortest distance between you and your money, and that an experienced trust and will law firm can help you immensely.