What happens when a trustee fails in their duty to provide beneficiaries with a copy of the living trust? This scenario happens all too often, but California Probate Court has some provisions in place, allowing beneficiaries to compel the trustee to provide a true and complete copy of the trust. To find out more about this provision, connect with Max Alavi APC, OC Trusts Lawyer.
What Can I Do if the Trustee Won’t Give Me a Copy of the Trust?
It is generally assumed that the trustee will provide a copy of the trust to any named beneficiaries. Having said that, we have run into a few situations in which the trustee refused to do so, leaving the beneficiaries with a feeling of unease. After all, the trustee is tasked with managing the assets contained within a trust, and those who stand to benefit naturally want to have plenty of information about how the trust is being maintained.
What the California Probate Code Says
Thankfully, the California Probate Code has some language to address just this situation.
When the holder of a living trust dies, or the trust becomes irrevocable upon its own terms (e.g., the creator of the trust becomes incapacitated in some way), California Probate Code § 16061.7 requires the trustee to provide notice to all beneficiaries and heirs. This must be done within 60 days of the original trust holder’s death.
If the trustee fails to do this, beneficiaries may file a petition in probate court, compelling the trustee to furnish them with a true and complete copy of the trust. In addition, the probate court can order the trustee to pay for any of the beneficiary’s attorney’s fees, specifically covering any costs incurred with trying to obtain a copy of the trust.
What to Do if You Need a Copy of the Trust
If you find yourself in a situation where the trustee has failed or simply refuses to provide you with a copy of the trust, we recommend making a written request to the trustee as soon as possible. Date your letter and be sure you have proof that the letter was mailed to the right person (e.g., use certified mail). If the trustee still fails to respond, then you will have all the evidence required to take matters to a living trust attorney.
Speak with a Living Trust Attorney in Orange County
As the beneficiary of a trust, you have a right to know the terms of that trust. If you require assistance navigating probate court, we invite you to contact Max Alavi APC, OC Trusts Lawyer. Our firm has a proven track record of success in probate and trust litigation and a rave review portfolio that attests to our skill and professionalism. Contact Max Alavi APC, OC Trusts Lawyer, for any questions related to a living trust or trustee relations.