Rancho Cordova, CA asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California

Q: If I am named a beneficiary in a trust does the trustee have to provide me with a copy of the trust?

My dad died a couple years ago and I just found out he had a trust set up before he died that names me a beneficiary but my stepmom won't give me a copy or tell me anything about it. She has already sold off a lot of his things and I just discovered she sold their home and moved across the country without saying anything. I asked for a copy of the trust and she told me flat out "No". Can she do that? She said my dad named me as a beneficiary so aren't I entitled a copy?

Edited* I responded to her "No" with an excerpt of CA law pertaining to this. She has not since replied.

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

A: Yes, you’re entitled to a copy of the trust agreement. Google search California Probate Code section 16061.7 to see what you’re entitled to. Make sure the trustee is aware of this code section. Failure to abide by this rule could result in suspension of her powers, and her removal as trustee, a demand for an accounting, and a possible surcharge. If you get no satisfaction after your request, consult a trusts and estates attorney for possible legal representation.

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney agrees with this answer

1 user found this answer helpful

Julie King
Julie King
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Monterey, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Yes, you are definitely entitled to a copy of the trust. The person named in the trust as the trustee (which is similar to an executor) should have provided you with written notice about your right to see a copy of the trust. If your stepmother refuses to cooperate, you need to hire a lawyer to demand your stepmother turn over both a copy of the trust and an accounting of all the money she has spent. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to force her to cooperate. Best wishes.

Bill Sweeney
Bill Sweeney
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • San Juan Capistrano, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: I agree with the other attorneys who commented. However, It may be possible that your father created a revocable joint trust with your stepmother that becomes irrevocable only on the stepmother's death. California Probate Code § 16061.7 allows certain persons to obtain a copy of a trust if the trust is irrevocable.

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