Fontana, CA asked in Probate for California

Q: Im a beneficiary of a trust, and never received a copy. How do I find out who the trustee is, and how to contact.

Here's what I was told:

-All my grandmother's assets are to be split between me and my brother.

- funds are not to be available until we reach 25 or start college. (Not sure if it means I get mine at 25, or we both get it when he-the younger sibling. Turns 25)

-Her house was sold and the money made was split between me and my brother.

Is there any kind of online database to search for it using her name, or social security number?

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2 Lawyer Answers
James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • San Jose, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Trust agreements are not legally required to be filed with any state or local official, so they remain entirely private throughout their existence. The law does require a trustee to notify you of the existence of the trust, your entitlement to a copy of the trust, and a warning that any trust contests be brought before the court within 120 days of receipt of the notice. It appears however that you were never provided a copy of this notice. Perhaps some other member of your family knows something about the trust (most likely your parent who is the child of your late grandparent). Notice must be sent to all trust beneficiaries and intestate heirs (i.e., next of kin). Two other suggestions: all original Wills must be filed with the local probate court for the county in which the deceased resided at time of death. A Will frequently refers to a trust when a trust is in existence, and a Will frequently refers to the name of an executor who is also the trustee of the trust. Contact that named executor. A Will often refers to the name of the attorney who prepared it. Contact that attorney for further information. Lastly, if real estate was sold during trust administration, you should be able to discover the name of the trustee by a recorded affidavit of death of trustee on file in the county recorders office for the county in which the property was located, or the last deed on file for the property that was sold. That should reveal the name of the trustee. Once you have some leads, make some calls, and call a local probate attorney for further legal advice and recommendations. Good luck!

Shawna Murray agrees with this answer

Genene N. Dunn
Genene N. Dunn
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Tustin, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Unfortunately trusts are usually private and usually no public record of their content exists. There are some requirements of the trustee that require notice to be sent to all beneficiaries and heirs and if you are named in the trust you do have a right to a copy of it. I would be curious to know how you found out about the terms of the trust. Maybe whoever told you those details has more information on the trustee. In addition, if there was real property owned by the trust you should be able to tell who the trustee is by pulling the title report if the property was sold after death.

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