Since some Trusts are private, locating the Trustee and any formal information can be difficult. How do you know who the Trustee is in a Trust? That can be a tricky question. The problem is that Trust documents are not publicly recorded, and calling Albertson & Davidson Trust Lawyers can help you answer these questions. There is no public agency that keeps copies of Trust documents. The only way to see a Trust document is to be given a copy either by the person who created the Trust or by the successor Trustee once the Trust creator passes away.
Do I Share all Information as the Trustee?
There are times when the person who has a copy of the Trust refuses to share it with anyone. When that occurs, you must go to court and ask the court to order the person to hand over a copy of the Trust.
How do you know if you are a Trustee?
Hopefully, the Trust settlor (Trust creator) gave you a copy of the Trust when they created it, or at least told you that you would be Trustee. In most cases, this does not occur. In fact, many estate planning attorneys dissuade clients from doing this because they fear a change in Trustee at a later date may cause problems. But it would be nice if Trust documents were shared more often.
What Happens if I need a Trust Document?
If you were not provided a copy of the Trust document, then you might get a call from either the Trust attorney or from one of the Trust beneficiaries. The problem is that the “Trust attorney”—meaning the person who created the Trust—has no obligation to notify you of being a Trustee. In fact, the Trust attorney has no obligation to take any action whatsoever after the Trust is created. If a beneficiary were to contact the Trust attorney, then the attorney may choose to contact you, but they do not have a legal obligation to do so.
Differences Between a Trustee & Beneficiary?
As for a Trust beneficiary, that is the most used method. Of course, in many cases, the Trustee is also a beneficiary because the Trustee is one of the children. If that is the case, then the Trustee/beneficiary will probably find the Trust document among their parent’s papers at home.
Obtaining Information from a Private Trust?
You might think that the process of notifying a Trustee would be more formal than hoping someone tells them about it. But such is the case with a Private Trust Document. Since Trusts are private documents, they are not recorded or secured by any governmental agency. The County Recorder won’t have a copy, neither will your local courthouse. Only the person who created it, and maybe their attorney, will ever have a copy of the Trust document (assuming copies were not shared prior to death). It can lead to a chaotic system of handing over control of the Trust from the decedent to the new Trustee.