In many cases, trust beneficiaries are disabled, and Michigan residents who are in charge of trust administration may need to take steps to better a disabled beneficiary’s life. In doing so, it’s important to be aware of the legal rights of everyone involved.

Readers in Oakland County might be interested in some recent news about trust administration. On Dec. 31, a surrogate judge ordered two trustees to answer for the lack of use of an account that was provided to a disabled beneficiary. The judge is said to have criticized the trustees for failing to note the needs of the disabled man and failing to improve his life by spending the funds in ways that could help him.

The judge stated that it was not sufficient for those in charge of the money to take care and safe guard it. The judge went on to say that the funds should be spend in a way that is appropriate for the disabled man’s needs.

The beneficiary, who reportedly has autism and severe retardation, has spent most of his life as an adult in an institute since his mother passed away in 2005. She left approximately $10 million to her two sons, according to reports, including half for her disabled son, whom she placed in a residential care facility prior to her death. The judge had previously ordered the trustees to find a care manager for the disabled man and to have him evaluated in 2007.

This story shows how the distribution of assets isn’t all beneficiaries should expect. Those with disabilities may need the help of the trustees to decide how to improve the beneficiaries’ lives. Whatever the situation, those with questions about trust administration or the distribution of assets should be sure to understand their legal rights and obligations.

Thomson Reuters News & Insight, “Trustees should do more for disabled beneficiary: judge,” Joseph Ax, Jan. 8, 2013

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