Dollars invested in a trust for the well-being of a named beneficiary may have strings attached, such as age, education, or work standards that you’ll need to achieve to receive funds. Because there have been many cases where trustees need to distribute dollars before the qualifying event, there are often provisions within a trust allowing for early access. A careful read of your trust may allow you to qualify for funds from your trust if you can’t wait for the qualifying event to occur.
Read your trust. As a beneficiary of a trust, you’re entitled to know the contents of the trust. You may ask to receive a copy of the document to ensure that you know clearly the rules to accessing your funds. If you haven’t read the rules, they may be less stringent than you expected, or there may be soft language allowing for you to qualify at an earlier date that you expected.
Search for the words "health," "education," "support" and "maintenance" in your trust. These access provisions allow the controlling trustee to administer dollars early if they decide that you qualify under the terms of these four rules. Examine your personal situation to see if you qualify for dollars early.
Look for other similar exceptions to the qualifying date. Because trusts are often large documents, begin by searching for exceptions near the health, education, support and maintenance guidelines. Sometimes the trust creators grant even broader powers to the trustee to distribute funds early to beneficiaries.
Hire a lawyer to examine your trust for loopholes if you can’t find any yourself. Focus on estate planning attorneys rather than a generalist or specialist in another aspect of law because these professionals deal with only estate law and trusts every day. Follow the recommendations of your attorney.
Contact the trustee with your findings. If you have a valid reason to access funds from your trust and your situation is provided for in the document, the trustee should distributed the needed cash. If she doesn’t, consult your attorney to determine your next step, which may include legal action against the trustee.
- LAWrighter Ohio Laws and Rules: Keeping Beneficiaries Informed -- Requests -- Required Reports
- The Probate Courts of Connecticut: Understanding Trusts -- A Look at Living Trusts and Other Trusts
- National Alliance on Mental Illness: Evaluating the Special Needs Estate Planning Attorney
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As a former financial advisor to companies and individuals for 16 years, Joe Andrews knows financial planning and marketing from start-ups to personal budgets. He also writes on motor racing, board games and travel. Andrews received his B.A. from Michigan State University in English. He is currently working on a young adult novel.