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Do benficiaries get a copy of the trust

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Do Beneficiaries Get a Copy of the Trust? What to Know! 

After the grantor’s death, the trustee manages the trust and then distributes the assets according to directions provided by the grantor. If you need help getting access to your trust document, call (949) 706-7300 to speak to Hess-Verdon, California’s leading trust attorney. 

Do Beneficiaries Get a Copy of the Trust

Who Is a Beneficiary?

A beneficiary is anyone who receives assets from an estate or trust. The beneficiary may be a spouse, child, relative, or friend of the deceased. A person or organization may also be a beneficiary. 

The trustee distributes assets to each beneficiary according to instructions in the trust. A trustee has many responsibilities and duties after someone dies and must follow these rules when distributing assets: 

  • The trustee must notify all beneficiaries about their inheritance within 60 days of receiving probate documents.
  • A copy of any will must be given to each beneficiary within 60 days of approval from the probate court.
  • A copy of any trust must be given to all beneficiaries named in the document within 60 days of approval from the probate court. 

Do Beneficiaries Get a Copy of the Trust?

The short answer to this question is “yes,” but it’s not as simple as that. It depends on how the trust was written and whether there has been any court action involving the trust. 

Why Some Beneficiaries Might Not Get a Copy

A trustee might not provide a copy of the trust because they are concerned about fulfilling their fiduciary duty to keep the information confidential.  

When trust documents are not filed with the court, they are considered private and confidential information. This can lead to conflicts between beneficiaries and trustees because beneficiaries often want to see all of the trust documents while trustees may not like to share them. 

Also, if there were any court proceedings after death but before distribution of assets, those would be public records and available upon request from anyone who wants copies or access to them. For example, if someone sues over something related to their inheritance from an estate, those proceedings would likely be open records after they finish being resolved by judges or juries – even though they might still be sealed during litigation itself. 

Handling Trustees Who Refuse to Share Information with Beneficiaries

The California Probate Code states explicitly that trustees must provide trustee accountings and other information to beneficiaries on request.

If a trustee refuses to provide you with a copy of the trust or refuses to share information with you, they may be in breach of their fiduciary duty. If this is the case, you can file a petition to remove the trustee. You can also file a petition requesting that the trustee provides an accounting of the trust’s assets.

When Can a Beneficiary Get a Copy of the Trust?

When might you need a copy of your trust? It’s a good idea to have one on hand in case of an emergency, so you can make sure your estate is being handled according to your wishes. You may also want a copy if you’re moving out of state and want to change your trust documents in the new location. 

When a beneficiary asks for a copy of the trust, the trustee should:

  • Provide a copy of the trust document.
  • Explain how much money is in the trust and what property it owns (life insurance policies, bank accounts, real estate).
  • Explain what each beneficiary should receive under the terms contained in the trust.
  • If the beneficiary wants to see records of changes to the trust or their account activity or have copies made, the trustee should not charge for those services.

Can a Trustee Withdraw a Beneficiary From a Trust?

A trustee can’t remove a beneficiary from the trust as long as that beneficiary has not been disinherited. A trust is a legal document governed by what the trust terms state.

Who Has More Right, a Trustee Or The Beneficiary?

The beneficiary generally has more rights than the trustee. The beneficiary has the right to request distributions from the trust, but the trustee decides how much will be distributed to any given beneficiary.

Why Does The Bank Need A Copy Of My Trust?

Banks aren’t required to accept trusts as deposit accounts. Some banks are more familiar with trusts than others, but all banks will require you to provide them with specific information before opening an account for your trust. This is especially true if your trust requires you to keep assets in separate accounts for each beneficiary (a so-called “directed” trust). The bank may also want information about your beneficiaries’ ages and how long their respective shares must remain in trust for them.

How to Get a Copy of a Trust Document

If you don’t already have a copy of your trust, start by contacting the trustee or successor trustee directly. It’s usually best to put your request in writing so you can document your request should any issues arise. You should send your request via certified mail to establish that it was delivered. If you receive no response within a reasonable period, you may want to contact an attorney who can help you explore other options. 

The trust should specify how often the trustee needs to share accountings and other documents with beneficiaries. Still, even if that requirement isn’t spelled out, the trustee is obligated by law to disclose this information upon request. 

Should I Keep the Copy of My Trust in an Emergency?

If someone gives you a copy of your trust, keep it safe (maybe in your fireproof box along with essential documents like birth certificates). 

Beneficiaries Can Request Copies of any Trust Documents.

Given the facts outlined here, the answer to this question is “yes.” The exact amount of detail included in a copy of the trust would depend on what is relevant to the beneficiary’s question or request. For example, if a beneficiary were simply curious about how much money they had coming to them under the trust, it would be reasonable to receive a copy of the trust terms relating to their inheritance. 

Trustees Have a Fiduciary Duty to Inform Present Beneficiaries and Keep Them Updated.

The problem is trustees may not know that beneficiaries have this right! California law requires trustees to keep beneficiaries informed about what’s happening with the trust. Here are three things: 

1. File an initial inventory within two months after accepting their position as trustee; 

2. Send annual accountings to every beneficiary who was eligible for distribution during the previous year (or any beneficiary who has requested them); and 

3. Send notices to beneficiaries whenever distributions are made from the trust after the grantor’s death. 

If your trustee fails to do any of these things, you should enforce your rights through a petition to compel an accounting filed in probate court. If you are a trust beneficiary in need of legal counsel or representation, contact Hess-Verdon & Associates at (949) 706-7300.

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