In this video, you get answers to these questions:

  • What is a receipt and release form?
  • Who is a trustee?
  • What if a receipt and release was not signed?

Introduction

This template is provided free of charge for the benefit of the public. As with any legal form or template, you should consult with your attorney before relying on anything you read on the internet. This form may not be appropriate for your circumstances or in your jurisdiction.

You may wonder, how is a release helpful? A release provides an important benefit to the trustee. A release provides protection to the trustee in a scenario where the beneficiary later decides to sue the trustee. The trustee can use the release to show that the beneficiary released the trustee of any legal claims the beneficiary might later bring. This is the language that accomplishes this:

The undersigned does release and forever discharge [JOSHUA FRY SPEED] as Successor Trustee of the Trust, of and from any claim(s) for distributive share, and of and from all actions, claims, and demands whatsoever, for or by reason thereof, or of any other act, matter, cause, or thing whatsoever arising out of the aforesaid Trust, the Estate or the administration thereof, as well as his agents, attorneys, accountants and/or other representatives.  I understand I have the right to obtain the advice of independent legal counsel, but I waive that right at this time.

Download

Download the Trust Beneficiary Receipt and Release Template Form (Microsoft Word).

Template

Waiver of Final Accounting and Consent to Distribution with Receipt and Release

The undersigned, being a Beneficiary of the [ABRAHAM LINCOLN LIVING TRUST, dated [January 1, 1850] (“Trust”) and ABRAHAM LINCOLN’S Estate (“Estate”), hereby waives the preparation and/or filing of a final accounting and fully consents to the immediate distribution to the beneficiaries.

Further, I hereby acknowledge and agree that, upon the Trustee receiving a signed Waiver of Final Accounting and Consent to Distribution from each beneficiary of the Trust, I shall receive [seventeen thousand five hundred dollars] ($17,500) as my distributive share of the Trust and the Estate, except for my share of the cash reserve, if any. This distribution represents a full and complete satisfaction of my interests in the Trust and the Estate.  I understand I could retain my inheritance in a self-trusteed, spendthrift trust. I have elected not to do so.

The undersigned does release and forever discharge [JOSHUA FRY SPEED] as Successor Trustee of the Trust, of and from any claim(s) for distributive share, and of and from all actions, claims, and demands whatsoever, for or by reason thereof, or of any other act, matter, cause, or thing whatsoever arising out of the aforesaid Trust, the Estate or the administration thereof, as well as his agents, attorneys, accountants and/or other representatives.  I understand I have the right to obtain the advice of independent legal counsel, but I waive that right at this time.

I affirm under penalties of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct on this the ___________ day of _______________, 1865.

____________________________________
THOMAS LINCOLN III

Drafting Notes

This form makes a number of assumptions

  • The person who created the trust and has now died is: ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
  • The trust was named: ABRAHAM LINCOLN LIVING TRUST.
  • The trust was formed on this date: January 1, 1850.
  • The beneficiary was: THOMAS LINCOLN III.
  • This beneficiary’s share was: $17,500.
  • The beneficiary is signing this document on this date: ___________ day of _______________, 1865.
  • The beneficiary is waiving any right to a final accounting.
  • The trust document allowed this beneficiary to receive the money outright (which he is doing here) or in a self-trusteed, spendthrift trust.
  • The trustee who is managing the trust was: JOSHUA FRY SPEED.

Conclusion

Disclaimers

This was prepared by attorney Aaron Hall (aaronhall.com) exclusively for educational purposes. This information may not be appropriate for your circumstances or your jurisdiction. This may be out-of-date, obsolete, or otherwise inaccurate. YOU SHOULD CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY BEFORE RELYING ON ANY INFORMATION HERE.

Video Transcript

What is a receipt and release form? That’s the question I’m answering today. I’m Aaron Hall, an attorney in Minneapolis, Minnesota. When there is a trust in place for an estate plan and the person who owns the trust has designated money go to a beneficiary. When that money goes to a beneficiary, the best practice is to have them sign a receipt and release. So typically a lawyer will draft a receipt and release form, which says money is going to this beneficiary. The beneficiary is acknowledging receiving that money. The beneficiary is releasing the trustee from any liability in exchange for receiving this money. Let’s talk a little bit about what does that mean?

Well, the first part there, the beneficiary acknowledges receipt of the money. There’s nothing complex about that. It’s just having a written receipt. That all right I got $50,000 from a trust. The second part is more important. The trustee is the manager of a trust. The trustee is the one who writes checks to the beneficiaries. So the trustee manages the trust and make sure money goes to the people who are supposed to get it. Well when the trustee writes a check to somebody, it’s a best practice for them to ask that person to agree not to sue the trust later and to agree that “Hey, in exchange for getting this money, we’re fair square. We’re even. Nothing further is owed of you.”

And so that’s what that release does. It’s simply the beneficiary acknowledging in exchange for getting this payment, I release you the trustee in case anything errors or other issues may have arisen. What we don’t want to happen and what this release accomplishes is we don’t want the beneficiary to take the money, go hire a lawyer and then sue the trustee for more money. So that is why the best practice is when a trustee is issuing money to a beneficiary the trustee requires that the beneficiary sign a receipt and release. They acknowledge receipt of the proceeds and they release the trustee of any legal claims that may exist so both parties can move on and not worry about the threat of a lawsuit later. Now you might be wondering what if a receipt and release wasn’t signed? Well, there’s probably still evidence of the receipt because there’s a cash check presumably. But what about the release? Well, the beneficiary technically did not release the trustee from claims, so the beneficiary could turn around and sue the trustee and say, “Hey, I’m owed more money or something, or you did something wrong.” So that is the risk that exists when no release is signed by the beneficiary.

I’m Aaron Hall. I’m an attorney in Minneapolis, Minnesota. And if you’re interested in more information like this, you can see the link to aaronhall.com in the description below. If you have other questions, feel free to add them in the comment section. And if you’d like more educational videos like this, you’re welcome to click on the subscribe button. Also, please note below there is a disclaimer, simply explaining this as an educational video. And I do these videos so you can spot issues to discuss with your attorney, not as a replacement for hiring an attorney. Thank you.