Unless there are specific terms in a trust document providing otherwise, a trust terminates and ends generally when the “trustee gives a final accounting and conveys the trust property to the beneficiaries.” Shannon v. Johnson, 741 S.W.2d 791, 794 (Mo. Ct. App. 1987). A trust’s termination date is important for numerous reasons, not the least of which is that it usually brings about the end of the trustee’s fiduciary obligations to the beneficiaries.
For liablity reasons, a trustee will sometimes send a proposed distribution of the trust property in advance to give the beneficiaries an opportunity to review beforehand. This is expressly discussed in Section 456.8-817, RSMo:
Upon termination or partial termination of a trust, the trustee may send to the beneficiaries a proposal for distribution. The right of any beneficiary to object to the proposed distribution terminates if the beneficiary does not notify the trustee of an objection within thirty days after the proposal was sent but only if the proposal informed the beneficiary of the right to object and of the time allowed for objection.
Regardless of whether you are a trustee or beneficiary, it is important to be familiar with this procedure to ensure that your rights are protected.