Trustees Obligation to Inform Beneficiaries: Avoiding Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims

Reconciling Discrepancies Between Trust Document and State Law, Navigating State Statutes and UTC Provisions

A live 90-minute CLE webinar with interactive Q&A

Tuesday, August 22, 2017 (Tomorrow)
1:00pm-2:30pm EDT, 10:00am-11:30am PDT

This CLE webinar will provide estate planning counsel and advisers with a thorough and practical guide to navigating trustees’ duties to inform beneficiaries and report trust existence and performance. The panel will address the key obligations that advisers to fiduciaries need to grasp and meet to avoid liability and defend against beneficiary claims.


A critical obligation for trustees of irrevocable trusts is the duty to inform beneficiaries of the trust’s existence and activities. Trustees often find themselves facing beneficiary claims of breach of fiduciary duty for failure to comply with these responsibilities. And, compliance is frequently complicated by inconsistencies between the trust document and the applicable state law. Fiduciaries and their advisers can avoid liability by thoroughly understanding the key components of a trustee’s duty to inform.

While there is no uniform standard governing trustees’ duty to inform, virtually every state imposes a fiduciary duty on trustees to provide certain information to trust beneficiaries. Most states require trustees to provide regular trust accountings to some or all current beneficiaries. Additionally, states have long recognized the right of beneficiaries to receive information on request.

Many states’ trust statutes will not relieve the trustee of the duty to inform, except in very limited circumstances. Because of variances in the scope of the duty to inform among the states in defining the duty to inform, advisers to fiduciaries, especially non-professional trustees, should have a solid grasp of these fiduciary duties to avoid unexpected liability.

Listen as our panel of authoritative presenters provides estate planning and trust counsel with practical guidance for understanding and complying with trustees’ duties to provide information to beneficiaries, report trust existence and performance, and meet key obligations to avoid liability and defend against beneficiary claims.


  1. The Trustee's Duty to Inform and the Beneficiary's Right to Information
    1. At Common Law
    2. Under the Uniform Trust Code
  2. The Trustee's Duty to Account and Responding to Requests for Accountings
  3. Silent or Quiet Trusts
    1. Silencing a Noisy Trust
    2. Creating a Silent Trust from Scratch
  4. Avoiding Claims for Breach of the Fiduciary Duty to Inform


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What disclosures are trustees almost always required to make to beneficiaries?
  • What are the Uniform Trust Code (UTC) provisions for required disclosures?
  • What trust document provisions limiting a trustee’s duty to disclose and report will be honored under most state laws? Under the UTC?
  • When can a trustee utilize non-mandatory disclosures to further protect against breach of fiduciary duty claims for failure to report?


Nicole K. Mann, Partner
McDermott Will & Emery, Chicago

Ms. Mann focuses her practice on all aspects of tax and estate planning, estate and trust administration and family business planning. She also has considerable experience in estate, trust and tax litigation involving disputes between and among family members, fiduciaries and beneficiaries.

Jared R. Cloud, Partner
McDermott Will & Emery, Chicago

Mr. Cloud counsels clients on estate, trust and family business disputes. He represents fiduciaries and beneficiaries in litigation before courts in numerous jurisdictions. He represents clients in trust litigation, including trust construction, contested accountings, trust reformation and actions for breach of fiduciary duty; estate litigation, including will contests, probate claims and will construction; family business disputes, including succession disputes, separation of interests and buyout of minority stakeholders outside of litigation, as well as litigation of derivative actions, oppression claims by minority shareholders and partnership accountings; and contested guardianship matters, including disputes over competence and the appointment of an appropriate guardian.

Live Webinar

Live Webinar $297.00

Add a colleague on the same connection in the same room for only $97.00 in the shopping cart or by calling customer service.

This webinar is eligible for at least 1.5 general CLE credits.

CLE credits are not available for PR.

*In KS, OH, PA, for more than 1 attendee on the connection you must contact Strafford CLE via email or call 1-800-926-7926 ext. 35 prior to the program for special instructions.


CLE On-Demand - Streaming Video

Includes recorded streaming video of full program plus PDF handouts.

On-demand is the only recorded format recognized for CLE credits in DE, IN, KS, LA, MS, NC, OH, OK, SC, TN, VA, WI.

AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN*, KS, KY, LA, ME, MN, MO, MT, NC, ND, NH**, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH*, OK, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY (Note: Some states restrict CLE eligibility based on the age of a program. Refer to our state CLE Map for additional information.)

*Only available for attorneys admitted for more than two years. For OH CLE credits, only programs recorded within the current calendar year are eligible - contact the CLE department for verification.

**NH attendees must self-determine if a program is eligible for credit and self-report their attendance.

CLE On-Demand Video $297.00
Available 48 hours after the live event

How does this work?

Recorded Event

Includes full event recording plus handouts (available after live webinar).

Strafford is an approved provider and self-study CLE credit is available in most states.

AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, KY, ME, MN, MO, MT, ND, NJ, NM, NY, OR, PA, TN, TX, UT, VT, WA, WV, WY (Note: Some states restrict CLE eligibility based on the age of a program. Refer to our state CLE Map for additional information.)

Strafford will process CLE credit for one person on each recording.

Additional copies of a recording can be purchased at a discount. Please call Strafford Customer Service toll-free at 1-800-926-7926 ext 10 or email to place your order.

Recorded Webinar Download $297.00
Available 48 hours after the live event

How does this work?

Recorded Audio Download (MP3) $297.00
Available 24 hours after the live event

How does this work?

DVD (Slide Presentation with Audio) $297.00 plus $9.45 S&H
Available ten business days after the live event

How does this work?

Registration Plus Recorded Event

Best value!

Live Webinar & Webinar Download $394.00

Recorded Webinar Download Only $97.00 with Registration/Webinar Combo

Live Webinar & Audio Download $394.00

Recorded Audio Download (MP3) Only $97.00 with Registration/MP3 Combo

Live Webinar & DVD $394.00 plus $9.45 S&H

DVD (Slide Presentation with Audio) Only $97.00 with Registration/DVD Combo


Strafford webinars offer several options for participation: online viewing of speaker-controlled PowerPoint presentations with audio via computer speakers or via phone; or audio only via telephone (download speaker handouts prior to the program).  Please note that our webinars do not feature videos of the presenters.

Program Materials

Requires Adobe Reader 8 or later. Download Acrobat FREE.

Program Materials

Requires Adobe Reader 8 or later. Download Acrobat FREE.

or call 1-800-926-7926

Can't Attend the Live Program?

CLE Credits By State

See CLE State Map >

or call 1-800-926-7926

Customer Reviews

The seminar was very informative and easy to understand.

Amy Allison

Anderson Hunter Law Firm

I thought the information provided was great.

Erika Gamiz

Law Offices of Marcia L Kraft

The webinar offered excellent insight into some specific areas.

Beth Ann R. Lawson

Virginia Beach Law Group

The program was well organized and discussed the major issues.

Roxy Hammett

Wolff & Samson

Better than I expected. Well done on both subject matter and production quality.

Jeff Simpson

Gordon, Fournaris & Mammarella

or call 1-800-926-7926

Estate Planning Advisory Board

Gary D. Altman

Principal and Founder

Altman & Assoc.

Brian M. Annino


Annino Law Firm

Richard S. Franklin


Franklin Karibjanian & Law

J. Leigh Griffith

Partner and Practice Group Leader - Tax

Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis

L. Paul Hood, Jr.

Consultant, Speaker and Author

The University of Toledo Foundation

Denise L. Iocco


Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf

Donna J. Jackson


Donna J. Jackson, Attorney at Law

Salvatore J. LaMendola


Giarmarco Mullins & Horton

Edwin P. Morrow, III, Esq.

Senior Wealth Specialist

Key Private Bank Wealth Advisory Services

Scott K. Tippett


The Tippett Law Firm

Susan M. von Herrmann


Perkins Coie

or call 1-800-926-7926

Our Guarantee

Strafford webinars are backed by our 100% Unconditional Money-Back Guarantee: if you are not satisfied with any of our products, simply let us know and get a full refund. For more information regarding complaints and refunds, please contact us at 1-800-926-7926 ext 10. Complaints regarding this program can be submitted via the course evaluation found in the “Thank you” e-mail at the end of the course.