Am I entitled to my trust fund money when I need, or want it?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Am I entitled to my trust fund money when I need, or want it?

When my father passed, he left me some money in a trust fund. not rich type
money, but enough to help with bills for awhile.

today, i asked for some of my money that was willed to me by my father. i have
some expenses that need to be paid.

the attorney, trustee told me no. then he said, ‘its not my money until he distributes
it.’ not joking.

the trust fund is in my name. doesnt that make it MY money? help please. thank
you in advance.

Asked on May 4, 2018 under Estate Planning, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, money in the trust is not your money: it is the trust's money, even if it is to be used for you. Trusts are set up according to rules or instructions: the person creating the trust (your father) determines not only who the trust will pay, but when, how much, under what circumstances, etc. The trustee must follow the instructions laid out in creating the trust: he has no legal right or authority to do otherwise. 
If your father just wanted to give you the money, he would not have put it into a trust--he'd have simply willed it to you outright (and/or gifted it to you while he was still alive). Instead, he put into a trust: that means he did not want you gettng it immediately all at once. You will only get the money as and when the terms of the trust let you get it.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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