13th May 2019
If you are a Trustee or Beneficiary of a Trust and you have major questions about how the Trust is supposed to work, Oklahoma law may have a helpful avenue for you. (See this prior blog post for a breakdown of the main parties to a Trust.)
Trust Construction Actions Generally
Oklahoma law permits certain parties to a Trust, such as Trustees and Beneficiaries, to seek guidance from a Court in certain circumstances. There are several provisions under the law, but for ease of discussion this post will refer to them as: “Trust Construction Actions.”
Not all trust questions require Trust Construction Actions, of course. Some issues may be resolved by consulting with attorneys or other professionals such as accountants. In certain circumstances, the parties involved in the Trust can clear up an uncertain situation by agreement.
However, Trust Construction Actions can be necessary or helpful in certain cases:
– The Trust instrument is unclear, inconsistent, or incomplete;
– When it is time for a successor Trustee, but the Trust instrument does not name a successor Trustee, or those named are no longer alive, in business, or willing to serve;
– If a Trustee needs to take certain actions, but the Trust instrument is not clear about whether they have the authority to do so;
– Unusual facts arise which the Trust instrument does not specifically address or anticipate;
– The Beneficiaries and Trustees have a difference of opinion on an important Trust provision that cannot be resolved by discussions or more informal methods;
Many Trust Construction Actions take place after the Settlor or creator of the Trust is deceased, incapacitated, or otherwise no longer able to make changes or give direction.
The Next Blog
This blog post answers the “What” question by introducing the concept of Trust Construction Actions and giving some examples where they may be necessary or helpful. The next blog post will address the “Why” question and discuss some specific benefits.