Is the trustee letting you look at the trust?

review estate document

Several different tasks require attention when a loved one passes away. Perhaps one of the most important involves gathering all of a California decedent’s estate planning documents, which may include a trust. If there is a trust, one of the first duties of a trustee is to provide the appropriate parties with a copy of the document.

Primary beneficiaries receive a copy. These are the individuals that receive an outright and immediate distribution from the trust, or individuals that receive principal and income from the trust right away. If an individual falls into this category, the trustee should provide him or her with a full copy of the document in order to understand what, how and when the individual receives distributions from the trust.

Remainder beneficiaries, guardians of minor beneficiaries and heirs at law may also receive a copy of the trust. In some cases, it depends on the circumstances. For instance, if it appears that a contest to the trust will be filed, the trustee may provide a copy to as many potentially interested parties as possible. The problem is when a trustee fails to provide a copy of the trust to a party with the right to have one.

If a California primary beneficiary requests a copy of the trust, but the trustee fails to provide it, he or she may have cause to be suspicious. After all, under the law, a primary beneficiary is entitled to it, and the failure to provide it could mean that something is wrong. In order to be sure, it may help to have an attorney review the circumstances in order to determine whether there is cause for concern.

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