Trusts Frequently Asked Questions



1. What is the difference between carrying value and market value when reporting on an account?

The carrying value is the fair market value of an asset when the trustee first gains control of the asset.  The carrying value will remain static unless funds are added to the account or withdrawals are made from the account.  A bank account or a money market account will always have the same carrying value and market value.  Investment assets such as stocks or mutual funds fluctuate in value.  Real estate usually fluctuates in value from year to year.  For these assets, you will have a different carrying value and market value.

2. May I borrow money from the trust provided that I pay back the loan?

No.  A trustee is never authorized to borrow money from the trust.

3. May I distribute money to the beneficiaries from the trust before they reach the age in which the trust terminates?

The trustee should strictly follow the language in the Will in making distributions.  If the trustee wishes to deviate from the terms of the trust, the trustee should obtain a court order which authorizes the trustee to make an early distribution to a beneficiary not otherwise authorized by the terms of the trust.

4. I am a beneficiary. How do I find out what is happening with an estate?

The personal representative of the estate has a duty to keep you reasonably informed.  If the personal representative refuses to provide you with information after your request, please advise our office in writing of your difficulty in obtaining information from the personal representative. The letter should also identify your concerns about the administration of the estate.