How to Obtain a Copy of a Living Trust in California

By Thomas King

A living trust is a means of transferring property to an individual or group of people. It is created by a person known as a settlor or grantor, who often acts as trustee, or manager of the trust, and names a successor trustee to manage and distribute the property in the trust upon his death. If you are a beneficiary named in the trust, you may want to obtain a copy of the living trust from the current trustee to see what property you are entitled to receive.

A living trust is a means of transferring property to an individual or group of people. It is created by a person known as a settlor or grantor, who often acts as trustee, or manager of the trust, and names a successor trustee to manage and distribute the property in the trust upon his death. If you are a beneficiary named in the trust, you may want to obtain a copy of the living trust from the current trustee to see what property you are entitled to receive.

Step 1

Gather identifying documents, such as a passport and birth certificate.

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Step 2

Determine whether the living trust is irrevocable, which means it cannot be changed. In most cases, a living trust becomes irrevocable when one or more of the persons who created the trust passes away. If the living trust is revocable, the trustee is not required to provide a copy of the trust.

Step 3

Send a certified letter to the trustee(s) demanding a copy of the trust. Under California Law, you are entitled to a copy of an irrevocable trust if you are a beneficiary or heir of the settlor. In your demand letter, you should include your name, contact information, and basis for requesting a copy, such as your relationship to the settlor. If you anticipate there will be problems, you may also want to include a copy of the relevant law entitling you to a copy of the trust -- California Probate Code § 16061.5(a)(1) -- and the law imposing a duty on the trustee to furnish the copy -- California Probate Code § 16060.

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What Is the Difference Between a Trustee and a Settlor on a California Revocable Trust?

References

Related articles

Is a Living Trust Good in All States?

Living trusts are a commonly used estate planning tools, because they are flexible and recognized in every state. The person who creates the trust maintains control of her property during her lifetime and upon her death, the property automatically transfers to the beneficiaries named in her trust.

What Is the Procedure to Cancel an Existing Living Trust?

Sometimes you need to revisit your previous financial planning decisions. If you recently had a major change in income or assets, which often happens following a divorce, the way in which your property is titled or managed may need a complete overhaul. As part of this adjustment, if you have a living trust that you wish to cancel, you may do so by executing the appropriate revocation paperwork.

Is a Living Trust Liable or Subject to Probate?

A living trust holds assets that are managed by a trustee for intended beneficiaries. Also called a revocable trust, it differs from other trusts in that the trust creator, or grantor, can also serve as the trustee and can make changes to, or even revoke, the trust in its entirety during his lifetime. Living trusts are attractive because the grantor retains ultimate control over his assets while he is alive, but they are most commonly used to avoid probate.

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