April 10th, 2013
We often see trust beneficiaries sue a trustee to compel an accounting of the trust’s receipts, disbursements and assets. A court should start with the trust instrument to determine whether an accounting is required and, if so, to whom and what it should contain. That’s what an Illinois federal court did in Drewry v. Keltz.
The trust instrument there required that “[e]ach Successor Trustee shall render an account of his/her receipts and disbursements and a statement of assets to each adult vested beneficiary.” The plaintiffs were adult vested beneficiaries of the trust who had made requests for the successor trustee to provide an accounting, which the trustee did not provide. The federal court ordered the trustee to provide the plaintiffs with an accounting of his receipts and disbursements on behalf of the trust and a statement of the trust assets within 30 days of the order.
We’re interested in this opinion for two issues that weren’t central to the court’s decision.