Beneficiary: Rights and Responsibilities

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What are my rights as a Beneficiary?

A beneficiary is owed duties by the estate trustee. The estate trustee must follow the law and the deceased’s will (if there is a will) or the Rules of Intestacy (if there is no will).

This duty includes giving beneficiaries a proper accounting of the estate and keeping the beneficiary updated. An accounting of the estate is essentially a documentation log indicating, for example expenses, values of assets, any money received by the estate trustee, what has been distributed, etc.

A beneficiary may wish to object to the appointment (legal confirmation) of an estate trustee or object to their accounting in a formal passing of accounts.

Objecting the Appointment of an Estate Trustee

The appointment (legal confirmation) of an estate trustee is based on the principle that this is a responsible individual who recognizes their duties, responsibilities, and liabilities as estate trustee. 

If a beneficiary does not wish for a person to be appointed as the estate trustee or wishes to challenge the will, they may wish to file an objection. This objection comes in the form of filing a “Notice of Objection” before the appointment is granted (allowed).

A beneficiary must be able to provide relevant evidence as to why they are objecting to the appointment of the estate trustee. Example of evidence may be:

  • The potential estate trustee has already taken too long to start the probate process
  • The potential estate trustee has a history of financial abuse such as fraud
  • The potential estate trustee has a conflict of interest that would affect their ability to fairly perform their duties
  • The will seeking to be probated and/or appointing the potential estate trustee is being challenged or will be challenged in court as not a valid will

Simply not liking a potential estate trustee is not a valid (legitimate) reason for a potential estate trustee to be rejected.

Usually, the courts will prioritize the deceased’s wishes if the potential estate trustee was requested by the deceased in their will.




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