Bay Area Trustees Must Provide Beneficiaries and Heirs with Copies of California Trusts, Last Wills, and Amendments

I get calls every week from Bay Area Trust, Last Will, and Estate beneficiaries complaining that they can’t get their brother or sister, who is the Trustee and Executor of their parents’ estate plan, to provide copies of the parents’ estate plan after the parents have died.Estate Planning

In response to these calls, I usually suggest the following. First, send a letter to the Trustee and Executor politely requesting the entire Trust, including amendments, and Last Will for both parents. Include the following language in the letter:

Please Provide True Copy of California Will

Under California Probate Code Section 8200, you, as Executor of Mom’s and Dad’s estates, are required to deliver Mom’s and Dad’s Last Wills to the County Superior Court where mom and dad died within 30 days of Mom’s and Dad’s respective deaths. Please note, if I am damaged by your failure to deliver Moms’ and Dad’s Last Wills to the Superior Court you will be liable for my damages. (See California Probate Code section 8200(b).)

As you are required to deliver the Wills to the Superior Court, you should have no objection in providing me with true copies at this time. If you do not provide me with a true copy of the Wills I will have no choice but to file a petition in the Probate Court requesting the Court to order you to provide me with true copies of the Wills. Please note, if I’m forced to file a petition, I will request that the Court order you to pay for the attorneys’ fees and costs associated with my petition. I hope I am not required to file a petition and you will simply provide me with true copies of the Wills on or before [DATE].

Please Provide True Copy of California Trust

Under California Probate Code Section 16061.7, you, as Trustee of Mom’s and Dad’s Trust, are required to provide all beneficiaries of the Trust and all of Mom’s and Dad’s heirs with a true copy of the Trust documents, including any amendments, 60 days after Mom’s and Dad’s respective deaths.

As you are required to provide Mom’s and Dad’s Trust after 60 days of their respective deaths you should have no objection in providing me with true copies of the Trust, and any amendments, at this time. If you do not provide me with a true copy of Mom’s and Dad’s Trust, and any amendments, I will have no choice but to file a petition in the Probate Court requesting the Court to order you to provide me with a true copy. Please note, if I’m forced to file a petition, I will request that the Court order you to pay for the attorneys’ fees and costs associated with my petition. I hope I am not required to file a petition and you will simply provide me, as an heir and/or beneficiary of the Trust, a true copy of the Trust, and any amendments, on or before [DATE].

If you include the above-referenced language in your letter to the Trustee or Executor, more times than not you will be successful in getting the Trustee or Executor to turn over the Trust and Will documents.

If the Trustee still refuses to provide the Will and Trust, then you must seek help from a Bay Area Probate Court to force the Trustee and Executor to hand over these documents.

Albertson & Davidson, LLP – Bay Area
555 Twin Dolphin Dr., Ste 130
Redwood City, California 94065
http://www.aldavlawbayarea.com/