To Affirmatively Disclose or to Passively Disclose, That is the Texas Trustee’s Question: What Duty of Disclosure Does a Texas Trustee Owe to a Beneficiary?
As a general matter, the crux of a trustee's duties lies in the effective administration of the trust for the benefit of the beneficiary. A key component in accomplishing this duty is disclosing pertinent information to the beneficiary. The difficulties that surround a Texas trustee's duties are most evident in this capacity. And, as if the trustee's role is not already difficult enough, the role's difficulty is compounded by the Texas legislature's inability to establish a bright-line standard on the form of disclosure a trustee is required to give a beneficiary. The law's lack of clarity in regards to trustee disclosure has left trustees in the precarious position of not knowing when information warrants disclosure. This position potentially causes trustees to fail to disclose pertinent information and exposing trustees to a host of libelous predicaments. This article argues that, to execute this pivotal duty, trustees must have clear and detailed guidelines on what information is considered pertinent. Otherwise, trustees must make blind guesses in regards to tasks that are central to the trustees’ fiduciary duties to the beneficiaries.