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How fast a trust has to be distributed

A loved one passed away, leaving behind assets in a trust. The idea here is that one person will administer the trust -- perhaps a sibling of yours -- and give the proper assets to the other family members.

The problem is that you feel like it's taking too long. There's no movement or progress. You think that the other person may actually be dragging his or her feet intentionally to keep from passing along the assets.

So, how fast does the trust have to be distributed?

It all depends. Some trusts are written with stipulations governing exactly when assets are to be handed out, and these must be followed. If not, though, the person who is in charge usually just has to do it in a "reasonable" amount of time.

This is clearly a gray area and can be frustrating. Maybe your brother is in charge, and he thinks it's reasonable to take the next year distributing the assets. You think it's unreasonable for it to take any longer than a month. The word can be defined differently by different people, meaning that there is no exact time frame in place. This can lead to disputes.

When this happens, you may want to look into your legal options. A court may also feel that the time it's taking is unreasonable and help to speed up the process.

Likewise, those who are setting up trusts may want to keep this in mind when designing them. They should know all of the options that they have to help keep any disputes from happening in the future.

Source: Caring, "Is there a time limit on distributing trust money?," Barbara Repa, accessed April 13, 2017

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