Blind Trust

Blind Trust

My mother and father created a blind trust for my mother's assets which the 4 children are the beneficiaries. My mother then died, our father who is the executor, will not give us a copy of the blind trust created for the children. Do we have a legal right as beneficiaries to a copy of the trust?


The answer depends on the terms of the trust and state law. Many state laws that govern trusts, as well as uniform law that many states model their trust laws on, mandate some level of disclosure to beneficiaries. While some trusts do restrict the right for beneficiaries to have access to certain information these types of restrictions are not the norm. One reason is that there is a downside to severely restricting access to information by the beneficiaries. If the beneficiaries don't have any information, who will be able to make sure that the trustees are doing their job properly? So one real issue is whether the trust is as "blind" as you think, or whether that is merely an excuse to prevent your oversight. Unfortunately, the way to address the issue is to hire an attorney in your state that specializes in estate litigation. The attorney can write a letter to the trustee and inquire as to what the basis is for not releasing any information and remind the trustee of his fiduciary obligations to the beneficiaries, and perhaps of your state law requirements to disclose information.

That all being said, there are some missing points in your question, and some issues with some of what you indicate has happened. If your father is the "executor" that doesn't mean he is the trustee. Those are separate functions. He might be, but it might be someone else, even a bank. Also, if the trusts you refer to are formed under your mother's will (called "testamentary trusts") the most common trust is called a bypass trust (applicable exclusion trust, or credit shelter trust). It is quite common for the surviving spouse to be the only beneficiary and perhaps the only trustee as well. If that is the case you may really have few rights. But, as noted above, the way to find out is to hire an estate litigator to help you look into it.

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