Los Angeles, CA asked in Estate Planning for California

Q: Can anyone advise me where I may be able to find a living trust,I was told it was lost,never had a chance to view it .

To Whom it may concern, thank you in advance for responding to this message,I need to honestly know,if there is any way,I can track down a living trust, my Dad passed away and because at the time, I was in the US military special ops unit,I was unaware of his passing, once the mission was completed,I was informed of his passing.

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2 Lawyer Answers
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Carlsbad, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: There is no good answer to this one.

Are you sure he had a Trust? Did he have the house titled in the name of a Trust? Or bank accounts?

It is possible that the bank or brokerage house will have a copy if he held an account there in the name of the Trust.

It is remotely possible that he recorded the Trust with the county clerk. This is done so infrequently that the clerks just give you a funny look when you ask, but you can check.

Many attorneys will hold the original of Wills and Trusts. Can you find out who his attorney was? Do you live in a small enough town that you can call the estate planning attorneys in your area? You can put an ad in the local legal newspaper or newsletter. Maybe the county or city bar has an email list they can send an inquiry to.

Good luck with it.

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • San Mateo, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Thank you for your service. Also, my condolences for the loss of your father, as well as for the timing and manner that you learned of the news he had died. If your father had a trust and left no spouse, you should have received a notice and a copy of the trust from the person designated in the trust to take care of trust assets. Depending upon the type of trust he had, it's possible he could have died while married to a spouse other than your biological mother, and had a trust that would not have required notice to you. There are many variables here so hard to say one way or the other. If he had any real property in his name, for example, a house, you could search records of the County Recorder where the property is located. These records are available for anyone to search, partially online and more fully at your local recorder's office. Also, check records of unclaimed assets at https://ucpi.sco.ca.gov/UCP/Default.aspx., although it may take 3-4 years before any assets show up there. I'm in Northern California where I'm familiar with SwordstoPlowshares.org as a wonderful nonprofit serving Vets who might assist with these issues. I also am a VA accredited attorney who assist Vets, no charge, with issues like these. Disappointed to try to access VA website for a local resource for you, only to see that web page not functioning for me, but more importantly, for you.

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