In most cases, as the trustee of a trust where a child was not included, the answer is yes. Trustees must provide notice and share information with the child who was omitted or pretermitted from the trust. An omitted child is one who was intentionally disinherited. The trust will contain specific language that directs the trustee not to give any trust assets to this child. A pretermitted child, however, is one who is born after the date that the trust was signed. When the trust does not provide for these after-born children, the law grants them certain rights to the estate. For this reason, it is especially important to share information with the children who were left out.
When the Pretermitted Child Has Rights to the Trust
- The parent did not intent to omit the child from the trust, and the trust contains no language addressing such omission.
- The parent had other children who were living at the time that the trust was drafted, and the trust was not set up so that most of the assets were to go to the other parent of the child who was left out. If the assets are to go to the surviving parent, the pretermitted child may not have any right to the estate.
- The parent did not provide for the child in another way. If the parent did, and did so with the intent that these provisions were to take the place of an inheritance, the pretermitted child would not have a right to the estate. A determination as to the intent of the parent is made based upon actual statements or the amounts of the gifts made to the child.
Depending on the answers to the above points, the pretermitted child may have a right to take a share of the parent’s estate even though he or she was not included in the trust. As such, it is very important to share certain information with this child.
Our office is experienced with helping families with complicated issues like these when it is time to implement an estate plan. We encourage you to view our client testimonials page today to learn more about how we can help.