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Who's Entitled to Receive a Copy of the Trust?

Are you entitled to a copy of your Mom’s or your Dad’s trust?  This question really comes in two variations. The first situation is one in which both Mom and Dad have passed away, and an older brother or sister is the trustee and refuses to provide you with a copy of the trust.

Under California Probate Code 16061.7, your trustee/sibling must provide you with a true and correct copy of the trust, as of your parent’s date of death within sixty days of the last parent to die. That’s something that must come. If the first parent dies, that’s another scenario we’re going to talk about in just a second. Once both parents are gone, the trustee generally has sixty days within which to provide you with a true and correct copy of the trust.


Receiving a Copy of the Trust From a Stepparent

Now, let’s change the facts up a little bit. Let’s say that your mom is married to someone who is not your Dad and your Mom passes away first. Your stepfather, or your Mom’s husband is still living, and it looks like he’ll be living for the next ten years.  Should you ask to receive a copy of the trust? As always with lawyer’s advice, it depends. It depends on how old your stepfather is. Is he close to passing? You may not want to do anything. If he’s young and you feel like maybe he is abusing the trust that is left behind for you or you believe there is a trust that’s left behind for you and it’s being abused – well, you may need to ask for a copy of the trust.

Keep in mind, most times when we see beneficiaries ask a stepparent for a copy of the trust, and you compel that that copy be turned over to you, if you are a beneficiary of that stepparent’s trust, the chances are you won’t be when he or she passes away. Keep that in mind.  It’s a delicate balancing act. If the stepparent is still alive and is elderly and may not be long for the world, it’s better, in our opinion, to wait. But if they’re young and they – you believe they’re abusing a trust that may have been left for you, you really have no choice in our opinion other than to get a copy of the trust.  But know that the stepparent is going to disinherit you from his or her trust if you are a current beneficiary of it.

You’ll still get what you’re entitled to under any other trust, but more than likely, they will disinherit you from their trust.