How do I get paid from a trust I'm entitled too?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 21, 2016
Carolyn smith asked...

My grandmother left me a trust fund. I was to get three checks - one at age 30, 40 and my last at 50. She died in 2007. I have a copy of the will at hand. I have not heard anything from the executer of the will. How do I get my money?


Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a Caring.com senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

It's not clear whether your concern is that your payments are late. But that aside, the situation you describe is a bit peculiar, since the specifics of a trust are usually spelled out in a trust document that is separate from a will"”although the two documents may refer to one another in passing.

Usually, trust assets are managed and distributed by the person who is named as trustee. And the person with the same types of responsibilities"”managing and distributing a person's property to named beneficiaries after death"”is called an executor. Sometimes, the same person will be named both trustee and executor, but will wear slightly different hats while doing his or her duties.

If the document you have in hand is a will, it is a good place to begin your quest. Simply explain your concerns to the person named as executor, preferably in writing"”just as you have done here"”and keep a copy of that dated correspondence, which should also include your contact information. The person responsible is supposed to get back to you within a "reasonable time," which is fairly muzzy as a standard, but a week or two should suffice.

If there is a different person responsible for administering the trust, you may have to repeat the same steps with him or her.

If you get no satisfying response from the trust administer or suspect him or her of mismanaging funds or neglecting legal duties in distributing the trust proceeds, you may need to take the somewhat drastic step of hiring an attorney for help. If it comes to that, look for someone with experience in handling trusts and estates"”most likely an estate planning attorney.