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  1. #1

    Default When can an heir request to see a trust or will?

    In CA, at one point can an heir ask to see or get a copy of the Trust or Will? And, would the Executor be the person to ask, or the court? Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Michigan
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    28,620

    Default Re: When can an heir request to see a trust or will?

    You can ask any time - but you don't necessarily have a right to see the document at any time.

    Typically, once a will is in probate, you can go to the court and read the copy which was filed with the court.

    For a trust, there is not ordinarily any court involvement in its administration, and it may be necessary to commence a legal action to force the trustee to provide a copy. Although given the trustee's fiduciary duties to a beneficiary, I think a court would be very curious as to why a trustee refused a beneficiary's request to review a copy of the trust.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Practicing in Los Angeles, California
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    Default Re: When can an heir request to see a trust or will?

    Quote Quoting GoBears
    In CA, at one point can an heir ask to see or get a copy of the Trust or Will? And, would the Executor be the person to ask, or the court? Thank you.

    My response:

    Any person having a legal interest in the Probate of an estate may formally file and serve an Request for Special Notice (California Probate 1250-1252). (Caveat: A Probate proceeding MUST be filed prior to any request for Special Notice.)

    Special notice may be requested for any or all of the following probate matters (Ca Probate 1250(c)):

    • Any petition filed in the administration proceeding (Ca Probate 1250(c)(1));

    • Inventories and appraisals of property of the estate, whether initial or supplementary (Ca Probate 1250(c) (2));

    • Objections to an appraisal made by the personal representative or probate referee (Ca Probate 1250(c) (3));

    • The personal representative's accounts (Ca Probate 1250(c)(4)); and/or

    • Reports of status of administration (Ca Probate 1250(c)(5)).

    An interested person's request for special notice may be made in person or by attorney any time after issuance of letters in the estate administration. [Ca Probate 1250(a)] The Judicial Council has adopted for mandatory use an official form Request for Special Notice (DE-154/GC-035). When properly completed, this form satisfies all of the necessary requirements.

    Creditors of an irrevocable trust may, likewise, obtain copies and notice of all proceedings dealing with such Trust. (Ca Probate 17200(b), and see Ca Probate 17204(b)

    IAAL

  4. #4

    Default Re: When can an heir request to see a trust or will?

    Thank you Aaron, and IAAL. With this information, I found this:

    http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/di...file=1250-1252

    In this case, the executor is also an heir. The executor mentioed about meeting with the attorney soon. The heir would like to have a copy of the trust prior to this meeting. It sounds like it is ok to ask for such, but must the executor do so? Just a little fuzzy on this...

    Thank you.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Practicing in Los Angeles, California
    Posts
    411

    Default Re: When can an heir request to see a trust or will?

    Quote Quoting GoBears
    Thank you Aaron, and IAAL. With this information, I found this:

    http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/di...file=1250-1252

    In this case, the executor is also an heir. The executor mentioed about meeting with the attorney soon. The heir would like to have a copy of the trust prior to this meeting. It sounds like it is ok to ask for such, but must the executor do so? Just a little fuzzy on this...

    Thank you.

    My response:

    Your link is to the code sections that I had already mentioned in my response to you. Unless the Trust is irrevocable AND you're a creditor of the Trust, you have no right to see the Trust paperwork. You are, however, entitled to see the Will and all other Probate paperwork once letters of administration have been issued. Then, you can file your Request for Special Notice and serve it on the Executor's attorney.

    The executor has no need to file a Request for Special Notice. The executor, presumably, is represented by counsel, and as the client, is the only person entitled to see the attorney's file in the matter. All others; e.g., heirs, can see the court file, or file a Request for Special Notice.

    Read the code sections carefully.

    IAAL

  6. #6

    Default Re: When can an heir request to see a trust or will?

    Your clarification is much appreciated, thank you.

  7. #7

    Default Re: When can an heir request to see a trust or will?

    Quote Quoting IAAL
    ....You are, however, entitled to see the Will and all other Probate paperwork once letters of administration have been issued. Then, you can file your Request for Special Notice and serve it on the Executor's attorney.
    IAAL - Sorry, I thought I had closure on this topic, but a bit more clarification, please.

    Is the filing of a Request for Special Notice needed for an heir to see/copy the Will? I'm under the impression that this is for other needs, as mentioned, but want to make sure that I'm not missing something. For those who might be interested, here's the actual form here (copy & paste below):

    http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/forms/documents/gc035.pdf#search='Ca%20Probate%20%C2%A7%201250%28c %29%281%29'

    At what point should one expect "letters of administration" to be issued? It's my understanding that the executor is to read-out the Will to the heirs, and discuss the particulars, and what needs to happen. Ideally (the reason for this question), it would be nice to have a copy of the Will prior to this meeting so an heir can be more educated, and prepared...

    And, once the letters of administration are issued, is the court (I assume Probate) the only source of to view (and copy) the Will?

    Thanks much!

  8. #8

    Default Re: When can an heir request to see a trust or will?

    Spoke with an atty yesterday, and found-out that indeed the Request for Special Notice is not needed for an heir to see the Will. The reading of the Will amongst the heirs seems generally not to be the norm, but something we expect maybe from what we see in the movies. A copy of the Will is typically provided to the heirs, usually by mail. Approaching the executor is fine, or an heir can go to the court as well. In my case, it's the Superior Court of Santa Clara County. This can be checked online also:

    http://www.sccaseinfo.org/

    Going with a Trust though, from what I understand, keeps these matters private. Does that mean then that the Will not be with the Court (probate)? I appreciate the clarification, thank you.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Practicing in Los Angeles, California
    Posts
    411

    Default Re: When can an heir request to see a trust or will?

    Quote Quoting GoBears
    Spoke with an atty yesterday, and found-out that indeed the Request for Special Notice is not needed for an heir to see the Will. The reading of the Will amongst the heirs seems generally not to be the norm, but something we expect maybe from what we see in the movies. A copy of the Will is typically provided to the heirs, usually by mail. Approaching the executor is fine, or an heir can go to the court as well. In my case, it's the Superior Court of Santa Clara County. This can be checked online also:

    http://www.sccaseinfo.org/

    Going with a Trust though, from what I understand, keeps these matters private. Does that mean then that the Will not be with the Court (probate)? I appreciate the clarification, thank you.

    My response:

    You're obviously obtaining your advice elsewhere. Therefore, go with that advice - - and pay no attention whatsoever to what I've said to you.

    Good luck to you.

    IAAL

  10. #10

    Default Re: When can an heir request to see a trust or will?

    My employer allows for up to a 30 minute free consultation, for which I utilized; in this case, with a local probate lawyer. Your information helped me with my understanding, and allowed me to refine my questions. If upset, that was not my intent.

    Grappling with legal information, and trying to comprehend legalese is not easy for most folks. I still don't understand totally, and that is why I posted my question... Thank you.

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