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Making distributions from trusts is not always an easy task

Most everyone in Washington, DC who has a trust knows how important the choice of a trustee is. Administering trusts can become difficult when the desires of the beneficiaries are at odds with the provisions of the trust. This is just one reason why it is important to choose a trustee that is able to make difficult decisions with which the beneficiary may not always agree.

A grandson of Walt Disney has filed a lawsuit against the trustees of a trust his grandfather set up from which he was supposed to receive distributions at age 35, 40 and 45. The trustees made the determination not to give the man his first two distributions. They were given the power to withhold a distribution if it was believed that the beneficiary was not considered mature enough to handle the funds.

Despite the protests of the beneficiary, the trustees claim to have done what they felt was best for everyone involved. After hearing both sides of the story, a California judge agreed that the trustees made the right decision. The man supposedly has Down syndrome. He also reportedly suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome at birth. The trustees were afraid he would be taken advantage of if he received the distributions outlined in the trust.

Even if the trustees have compassion for the beneficiary, the provisions of the trust bind them. Trusts are created to carry out the desires of the creator. When a Washington, DC resident asks someone to serve as a trustee, that individual or entity needs to be able to abide by the wishes of the creator and not succumb to any pressure under which a beneficiary may put the trustee.

Source: National Post, "Walt Disney's grandchildren at war over $400-million inheritance: report", Michael Lyons, May 22, 2014

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