Dad's Trust – When Should I Ask For A Copy?
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Dear Stefanie:
      Six months ago, my dad (who was single) passed away. He named his sister as his Trustee. My brother and I are beneficiaries of the Trust, but have not received a copy of the Trust from our aunt. Her attorney has not returned my calls. What gives?

– Without Papers on Wickson

Without Papers on Wickson:

      In California, the Trustee must send a Notice to all Trust beneficiaries AND “heirs-at-law” (closest relatives, even if not beneficiaries).  Notice should be done shortly after the Trust becomes irrevocable and the new Trustee takes over (Probate Code 16061.7).

      The Notice must state that you have a right to request a copy of the Trust.  Any beneficiary of a Trust has a right to see its contents!  You have to decide how to proceed now (e.g.: Hire you own attorney if calls don’t get returned?  Talk to other family members for info?)

      On a practical note (and relying solely on common sense here), there is a “time and place” to ask for a copy of documents.  It is generally NOT suggested that you ask the Trustee for a copy as guests arrive for the big memorial or before the body has been buried!  As a general rule, give family the chance to grieve before “making noise.”  While you should exercise your rights, how you do it will impact family relationships for years to come.

      In this video I talk about “Dad’s Trust – When Should I Ask For A Copy?“.

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