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LegalGems
LegalGems, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 9688
Experience:  Private Practice; Elder Law Attorney; Estate Planning; Attorney Mentor
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How do i go about finding out how a trust was distributed

Customer Question

how do i go about finding out how a trust was distributed
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  LegalGems replied 2 years ago.
My goal is to provide great service - if you have any questions, please ask. A follow up consult with a personal attorney is always recommended.
A few minutes please as I look into this for you.
Expert:  LegalGems replied 2 years ago.
In order to learn the contents and distribution of a trust, the person must be an interested party (ie an heir).
The probate code provides that heirs are entitled to both a copy of the trust document, along with an accounting (periodic and at termination) which would list the distribution of the property.
16061.5. (a) A trustee shall provide a true and complete copy of
the terms of the irrevocable trust, or irrevocable portion of the
trust, to each of the following:
(1) Any beneficiary of the trust who requests it, and to any heir
of a deceased settlor who requests it, when a revocable trust or any
portion of a revocable trust becomes irrevocable because of the death
of one or more of the settlors of the trust, when a power of
appointment is effective or lapses upon the death of a settlor under
the circumstances described in paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) of
Section 16061.7, or because, by the express terms of the trust, the
trust becomes irrevocable within one year of the death of a settlor
because of a contingency related to the death of one or more of the
settlors of the trust.
(2) Any beneficiary of the trust who requests it, whenever there
is a change of trustee of an irrevocable trust.
(3) If the trust is a charitable trust subject to the supervision
of the Attorney General, to the Attorney General, if requested, when
a revocable trust or any portion of a revocable trust becomes
irrevocable because of the death of one or more of the settlors of
the trust, when a power of appointment is effective or lapses upon
the death of a settlor under the circumstances described in paragraph
(3) of subdivision (a) of Section 16061.7, or because, by the
express terms of the trust, the trust becomes irrevocable within one
year of the death of a settlor because of a contingency related to
the death of one or more of the settlors of the trust, and whenever
there is a change of trustee of an irrevocable trust.
(b) The trustee shall, for purposes of this section, rely upon any
final judicial determination of heirship. However, the trustee shall
have discretion to make a good faith determination by any reasonable
means of the heirs of a deceased settlor in the absence of a final
judicial determination of heirship known to the trustee.
16062. (a) Except as otherwise provided in this section and in
Section 16064, the trustee shall account at least annually, at the
termination of the trust, and upon a change of trustee, to each
beneficiary to whom income or principal is required or authorized in
the trustee's discretion to be currently distributed.
(b) A trustee of a living trust created by an instrument executed
before July 1, 1987, is not subject to the duty to account provided
by subdivision (a).
(c) A trustee of a trust created by a will executed before July 1,
1987, is not subject to the duty to account provided by subdivision
(a), except that if the trust is removed from continuing court
jurisdiction pursuant to Article 2 (commencing with Section 17350) of
Chapter 4 of Part 5, the duty to account provided by subdivision (a)
applies to the trustee.
(d) Except as provided in Section 16064, the duty of a trustee to
account pursuant to former Section 1120.1a of the Probate Code (as
repealed by Chapter 820 of the Statutes of 1986), under a trust
created by a will executed before July 1, 1977, which has been
removed from continuing court jurisdiction pursuant to former Section
1120.1a, continues to apply after July 1, 1987. The duty to account
under former Section 1120.1a may be satisfied by furnishing an
account that satisfies the requirements of Section 16063.
(e) Any limitation or waiver in a trust instrument of the
obligation to account is against public policy and shall be void as
to any sole trustee who is either of the following:
(1) A disqualified person as defined in Section 21350.5.
(2) Described in subdivision (a) of Section 21380, but not
described in Section 21382.
16063. (a) An account furnished pursuant to Section 16062 shall
contain the following information:
(1) A statement of receipts and disbursements of principal and
income that have occurred during the last complete fiscal year of the
trust or since the last account.
(2) A statement of the assets and liabilities of the trust as of
the end of the last complete fiscal year of the trust or as of the
end of the period covered by the account.
(3) The trustee's compensation for the last complete fiscal year
of the trust or since the last account.
(4) The agents hired by the trustee, their relationship to the
trustee, if any, and their compensation, for the last complete fiscal
year of the trust or since the last account.
(5) A statement that the recipient of the account may petition the
court pursuant to Section 17200 to obtain a court review of the
account and of the acts of the trustee.
(6) A statement that claims against the trustee for breach of
trust may not be made after the expiration of three years from the
date the beneficiary receives an account or report disclosing facts
giving rise to the claim.
(b) All accounts filed to be approved by a court shall be
presented in the manner provided in Chapter 4 (commencing with
Section 1060) of Part 1 of Division 3.
Pursuant to section 16064, the settlor can waive the accounting requirement:
16064. The trustee is not required to account to a beneficiary as
described in subdivision (a) of Section 16062, in any of the
following circumstances:
(a) To the extent the trust instrument waives the account, except
that no waiver described in subdivision (e) of Section 16062 shall be
valid or enforceable. Regardless of a waiver of accounting in the
trust instrument, upon a showing that it is reasonably likely that a
material breach of the trust has occurred, the court may compel the
trustee to account.
(b) As to a beneficiary who has waived in writing the right to an
account. A waiver of rights under this subdivision may be withdrawn
in writing at any time as to accounts for transactions occurring
after the date of the written withdrawal. Regardless of a waiver of
accounting by a beneficiary, upon a showing that is reasonably likely
that a material breach of the trust has occurred, the court may
compel the trustee to account.
(c) In any of the circumstances set forth in Section 16069.
Because a trust is a private document (as opposed to the probate process) a disinterested third person cannot receive this information without a court order (which would require just cause) or via the discovery process in a lawsuit.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I think i was overlooked as a creditor on a promissory note, so i am an interested party the trustee k new about the note that is why i would like to see the list of distribution of assets.
Expert:  LegalGems replied 2 years ago.
When a trustee fails to give notice or properly pay a valid claim, the creditor would need to sue the trustee in civil court for payment of the claim. It is the trustee that is personally liable once assets are distributed, for failing to pay a creditor's valid claim.
If the amount at issue is less than $10,000, the creditor may sue in small claims. http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-smallclaims.htm
For larger amounts, it would be limited civil (amounts less than $25,000) and general civil for larger amounts.
http://www.courts.ca.gov/1061.htm
Expert:  LegalGems replied 2 years ago.
Here is a link to help locate an attorney:
www.findlegalhelp.org and http://apps.americanbar.org/legalservices/findlegalhelp/home.cfm
Of course, should you have other questions please do not hesitate to post here.
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