I would like to know, whether I have a r...

Asked by MarkLS on 18-01-2019 12:24:39
Question posted in the General Law category relating to Western Cape
Question value: R 300.00

I would like to know, whether I have a right, to request a copy of a document, that required my signature? The document(s) that required my signature, are related to issues involving trusts, of which I am a beneficiary. I have requested copies directly from the trustees, but they appear to be ignoring my request.

As I have no recollection of the content of these documents, the possibility also exists, that my signature, was necessary, in a matter(s), that may be related to dealings concerning a trust, created in terms of my late father's Last Will and Testament, in which I am a nominated trustee, along with two other trustees, who happen to also be trustees of the two trusts, mentioned in the first paragraph. 

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Answer to the Question

Posted by Att. Patrick on 19-01-2019 10:33:57

Hi there Mark and thank you for your question,

Q: I would like to know, whether I have a right, to request a copy of a document, that required my signature? --> In general, and based on ONLY this statement, the answer is NO, you don't necessarily have the right to request a document just because you signed it. There may however be instances where you can though.

BUT, you say that the documents in question relate to Trusts. You also say that you are a beneficiary of the trust. 

As a beneficiary, I can't think of what documents the trustees will actually require you to sign. The only thing possibly is a document which records that you received something. Everything else is only signed by the trustees, in their capacity as a trustee. 

I think however that you might be a trustee, as well as a beneficiary. If this is the case, then you MOST CERTAINLY have the right to request (actually, demand) copies of all documents in relation to the Trust. Everything. If your co-trustees won't provide the documents, then your recourse would be to the Master of the High Court. You would lay a complaint with the Master, and at any rate, the Master should have a copy of all of the Trust's documents in the main Trust file.

If the Master is not able to assist you, then you should request the assistance of an attorney who can write a letter of demand to the other 2 trustees, and possibly threaten them with legal proceedings if they don't comply. 

In most instances like this, something is going on which should then be investigated. A Court could even remove trustees from their position if it can be shown that those trustees are not acting properly!

You should remember that Trustees need to act jointly. i.e. a Trust needs ALL of the trustees to agree on something before it can do it. 

Also, you really should read stuff before you sign it! And you should keep copies of the documents for your own personal records.

If there is a part of the answer which you need more advice on, or clarity please continue in this same thread instead of opening a new question.

Att. Patrick

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