If you are a beneficiary or trustee of a Pennsylvania trust, you may have rights or responsibilities under Pennsylvania’s new Uniform Trust Act (the Act).

Under the Act, a trustee is now required to provide information to certain trust beneficiaries even if they do not request it. If you are a trustee of a trust, and the settlor of that trust died or became incapacitated before Nov. 6, 2006, you may need to provide notices required by the Act to certain beneficiaries of the trust no later than Nov. 6, 2008. If the settlor of the trust died or became incapacitated after Nov. 6, 2006, you may need to provide certain notices required by the Act within 30 days of the settlor’s death or incapacity, a change in trusteeship or the addition of a new beneficiary.

If you are a beneficiary of a trust, the Act gives you certain rights to request information and receive notices required by the Act.

Pennsylvania Uniform Trust Act Summary Of Events Triggering Notice

Death of Settlor

Death of Settlor On or After Nov. 6, 2006:

  • Irrevocable Trust (including a testamentary trust): Provide notice to the current beneficiaries no later than 30 days after the date the trustee learns of the death (or within 30 days of funding the trust for a testamentary trust).
  • Revocable Trust: Provide notice to the settlor’s personal representative, spouse and children (or to their guardians if they are incapacitated or are minors) and current beneficiaries no later than 30 days after the date the trustee learns of the death.

Death of Settlor Before Nov. 6, 2006:

  • Irrevocable Trust (including a testamentary trust): Provide notice to current beneficiaries by Nov. 6, 2008.
  • Revocable Trust: Provide notice to the settlor’s personal representative, spouse and children (or to their guardians if they are incapacitated or are minors) and current beneficiaries by Nov. 6, 2008.

Current Beneficiaries

The Act requires that notice be provided to the current beneficiaries of the trust defined as follows:

  • A person 18 or older to or for whom income or principal of the trust must be distributed currently; or
  • A person 25 or older to or for whom income or principal of the trust may, in the trustee’s discretion, be distributed currently.
  • Includes a charity to/for whom income or principal must be distributed currently. Notice must also be sent to the Attorney General’s office.

Incapacity of Settlor

Settlor is Adjudicated Incapacitated On or After Nov. 6, 2006

  • Irrevocable Trust: Provide notice to the current beneficiaries no later than 30 days after the date the trustee learns of the adjudication.
  • Revocable Trust: Provide notice to the settlor’s guardian no later than 30 days after the date the trustee learns of the adjudication.

Settlor is Adjudicated Incapacitated Before Nov. 6, 2006:

  • Irrevocable Trust: Provide notice to the current beneficiaries by Nov. 6, 2008.
  • Revocable Trust: Provide notice to the settlor’s guardian before Nov. 6, 2008.

Change in Trustee

Change in Trustee After Nov. 6, 2006:

  • Irrevocable Trust (including a testamentary trust): If the settlor is then deceased or has been adjudicated incapacitated, provide notice to the current beneficiaries. There is no 30-day notice requirement; provide notice within reasonable time period.
  • Revocable Trust: If the settlor is then deceased, provide notice to the current beneficiaries. If the settlor has been adjudicated incapacitated, provide notice to the settlor’s guardian. There is no 30-day notice requirement; provide notice within reasonable time period.

New Current Beneficiary

Trustee informed of New Current Beneficiary (e.g., beneficiary has reached age 18 or 25) on or after Nov. 6, 2006:

  • Irrevocable Trust (including a testamentary trust): If the settlor is then deceased or has been adjudicated incapacitated, provide notice to the new current beneficiary by Nov. 6, 2008. After Nov. 6, 2008, such notice must be provided no later than 30 days after the date the trustee learns of the identity of the new current beneficiary.
  • Revocable Trust: No notice required to be given to the current beneficiaries until the settlor is deceased.

Beneficiary’s Reasonable Request for Information

In addition to the notice requirements set forth above, the Act also provides that “information related to the trust’s administration” must be provided whenever a beneficiary makes a reasonable request, unless the trust is a revocable trust and the settlor is still living. Any beneficiary may make this request. The age or nature of the beneficiary’s interest does not matter (i.e., not limited to current beneficiaries). If any such beneficiary has sent the trustee a written request for “notice” under the Act, whenever notice to current beneficiaries is required, the trustee must also send notice to such beneficiary.

Contents of Notice

The notice required by the Act must be sent by the trustee to the current beneficiaries. It must be in writing and contain the following information:

  • The fact of the trust’s existence and the identity of the settlor;
  • The trustee’s name, address and telephone number;
  • The beneficiary’s right to receive a copy of the trust instrument; and
  • The beneficiary’s right to receive at least annually a written report of the trust’s assets (and market values, if feasible), liabilities, receipts and disbursements.