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RayAnswers
RayAnswers, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 38344
Experience:  Texas lawyer for 30 years in Estate law
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I am in a situation that I thought was dead and buried. In

Customer Question

My name is***** am in a situation that I thought was dead and buried. In May of 1994 my grandmother was diagnosed with ALS. She set up a trust for all her assets. The heirs were my one aunt and my one uncle plus my dad's descendants. Which were myself my brother and my sister. My aunt was in charge of the trust and told us at the time that we were not getting a penny and that we had disinherited in August of 1995. At that time my grandmother could no longer speak or write. My aunt also would not allow any of my family see my grandmother. We have recently been told by our cousins my aunt's children that their mother lied and stole our inheritance. They are pursuing their own mother for stealing from a trust they had set up. That is another issue. My question is how do I get access to my grandmother's trust that was set up in 1994? We want to pursue this in civil court. If we can show that we were to receive 1/3 of my grandmother's estate, then I'm hoping we will be able to resolve this quickly. I'll let the local DA deal with the criminal side of this after the civil side is done. I just need a copy of the original trust. What do I do?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  RayAnswers replied 11 months ago.

Hi and welcome to JA. Ray here to help you today.

You would want to send a demand letter here in California.As a beneficiary of the trust, the trustee is required by law to not only send you notice that you are entitled to copy of the trust, but also, to give you an actual copy of the trust. See California Probate Code Section 16061.5 and 16061.7.

If the trustee doesn’t respond to the demand letter, you may end up having to file a petition under California Probate Code Section 17200. A 17200 Petition is a petition that is filed with the court asking them to force the trustee to give you a copy of the trust on the basis that you are a beneficiary of the trust and therefore have some interest in the deceased grantor’s estate.

You have a right here to see a copy of the trust.You may need a lawyer here.You can try a letter yourself and file Petition in Superior Court where the trust was created.

Expert:  RayAnswers replied 11 months ago.

Lawyer referral here.

http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Public/LawyerReferralServicesLRS.aspx

You want a trust lawyer.I appreciate the chance to help you today.

Expert:  RayAnswers replied 11 months ago.

Statute for reference

6060.7. On the request of a beneficiary, the trustee shall providethe terms of the trust to the beneficiary unless the trustee is notrequired to provide the terms of the trust to the beneficiary inaccordance with Section 16069.16061. Except as provided in Section 16069, on reasonable requestby a beneficiary, the trustee shall report to the beneficiary byproviding requested information to the beneficiary relating to theadministration of the trust relevant to the beneficiary's interest.16061.5. (a) A trustee shall provide a true and complete copy ofthe terms of the irrevocable trust, or irrevocable portion of thetrust, to each of the following: (1) Any beneficiary of the trust who requests it, and to any heirof a deceased settlor who requests it, when a revocable trust or anyportion of a revocable trust becomes irrevocable because of the deathof one or more of the settlors of the trust, when a power ofappointment is effective or lapses upon the death of a settlor underthe circumstances described in paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) ofSection 16061.7, or because, by the express terms of the trust, thetrust becomes irrevocable within one year of the death of a settlorbecause of a contingency related to the death of one or more of thesettlors of the trust. (2) Any beneficiary of the trust who requests it, whenever thereis a change of trustee of an irrevocable trust. (3) If the trust is a charitable trust subject to the supervisionof the Attorney General, to the Attorney General, if requested, whena revocable trust or any portion of a revocable trust becomesirrevocable because of the death of one or more of the settlors ofthe trust, when a power of appointment is effective or lapses uponthe death of a settlor under the circumstances described in paragraph(3) of subdivision (a) of Section 16061.7, or because, by theexpress terms of the trust, the trust becomes irrevocable within oneyear of the death of a settlor because of a contingency related tothe death of one or more of the settlors of the trust, and wheneverthere is a change of trustee of an irrevocable trust. (b) The trustee shall, for purposes of this section, rely upon anyfinal judicial determination of heirship. However, the trustee shallhave discretion to make a good faith determination by any reasonablemeans of the heirs of a deceased settlor in the absence of a finaljudicial determination of heirship known to the trustee.16061.7. (a) A trustee shall serve a notification by the trustee asdescribed in this section in the following events: (1) When a revocable trust or any portion thereof becomesirrevocable because of the death of one or more of the settlors ofthe trust, or because, by the express terms of the trust, the trustbecomes irrevocable within one year of the death of a settlor becauseof a contingency related to the death of one or more of the settlorsof the trust. (2) Whenever there is a change of trustee of an irrevocable trust. (3) Whenever a power of appointment retained by a settlor iseffective or lapses upon death of the settlor with respect to aninter vivos trust which was, or was purported to be, irrevocable uponits creation. This paragraph shall not apply to a charitableremainder trust. For purposes of this paragraph, "charitableremainder trust" means a charitable remainder annuity trust orcharitable remainder unitrust as defined in Section 664(d) of theInternal Revenue Code. (4) The duty to serve the notification by the trustee pursuant tothis subdivision is the duty of the continuing or successor trustee,and any one cotrustee may serve the notification. (b) The notification by the trustee required by subdivision (a)shall be served on each of the following: (1) Each beneficiary of the irrevocable trust or irrevocableportion of the trust, subject to the limitations of Section 15804. (2) Each heir of the deceased settlor, if the event that requiresnotification is the death of a settlor or irrevocability within oneyear of the death of the settlor of the trust by the express terms ofthe trust because of a contingency related to the death of asettlor. (3) If the trust is a charitable trust subject to the supervisionof the Attorney General, to the Attorney General. (c) A trustee shall, for purposes of this section, rely upon anyfinal judicial determination of heirship, known to the trustee, butthe trustee shall have discretion to make a good faith determinationby any reasonable means of the heirs of a deceased settlor in theabsence of a final judicial determination of heirship known to thetrustee. (d) The trustee need not provide a copy of the notification bytrustee to any beneficiary or heir (1) known to the trustee but whocannot be located by the trustee after reasonable diligence or (2)unknown to the trustee. (e) The notification by trustee shall be served by mail to thelast known address, pursuant to Section 1215, or by personaldelivery. (f) The notification by trustee shall be served not later than 60days following the occurrence of the event requiring service of thenotification by trustee, or 60 days after the trustee became aware ofthe existence of a person entitled to receive notification bytrustee, if that person was not known to the trustee on theoccurrence of the event requiring service of the notification. Ifthere is a vacancy in the office of the trustee on the date of theoccurrence of the event requiring service of the notification bytrustee, or if that event causes a vacancy, then the 60-day periodfor service of the notification by trustee commences on the date thenew trustee commences to serve as trustee. (g) The notification by trustee shall contain the followinginformation: (1) The identity of the settlor or settlors of the trust and thedate of execution of the trust instrument. (2) The name, mailing address and telephone number of each trusteeof the trust. (3) The address of the physical location where the principal placeof administration of the trust is located, pursuant to Section17002. (4) Any additional information that may be expressly required bythe terms of the trust instrument. (5) A notification that the recipient is entitled, upon reasonablerequest to the trustee, to receive from the trustee a true andcomplete copy of the terms of the trust. (h) If the notification by the trustee is served because arevocable trust or any portion of it has become irrevocable becauseof the death of one or more settlors of the trust, or because, by theexpress terms of the trust, the trust becomes irrevocable within oneyear of the death of a settlor because of a contingency related tothe death of one or more of the settlors of the trust, thenotification by the trustee shall also include a warning, set out ina separate paragraph in not less than 10-point boldface type, or areasonable equivalent thereof, that states as follows: "You may not bring an action to contest the trust more than 120days from the date this notification by the trustee is served uponyou or 60 days from the date on which a copy of the terms of thetrust is mailed or personally delivered to you during that 120-dayperiod, whichever is later." (i) Any waiver by a settlor of the requirement of serving thenotification by trustee required by this section is against publicpolicy and shall be void. (j) A trustee may serve a notification by trustee in the formrequired by this section on any person in addition to those on whomthe notification by trustee is required to be served. A trustee isnot liable to any person for serving or for not serving the notice onany person in addition to those on whom the notice is required to beserved. A trustee is not required to serve a notification by trusteeif the event that otherwise requires service of the notification bytrustee occurs before January 1, 1998.16061.8. No person upon whom the notification by the trustee isserved pursuant to this chapter, whether the notice is served on himor her within or after the time period set forth in subdivision (f)of Section 16061.7, may bring an action to contest the trust morethan 120 days from the date the notification by the trustee is servedupon him or her, or 60 days from the day on which a copy of theterms of the trust is mailed or personally delivered to him or herduring that 120-day period, whichever is later.16061.9. (a) A trustee who fails to serve the notification bytrustee as required by Section 16061.7 on a beneficiary shall beresponsible for all damages, attorney's fees, and costs caused by thefailure unless the trustee makes a reasonably diligent effort tocomply with that section. (b) A trustee who fails to serve the notification by trustee asrequired by Section 16061.7 on an heir who is not a beneficiary andwhose identity is known to the trustee shall be responsible for alldamages caused to the heir by the failure unless the trustee showsthat the trustee made a reasonably diligent effort to comply withthat section. For purposes of this subdivision, "reasonably diligenteffort" means that the trustee has sent notice by first-class mail tothe heir at the heir's last mailing address actually known to thetrustee. (c) A trustee, in exercising discretion with respect to the timingand nature of distributions of trust assets, may consider the factthat the period in which a beneficiary or heir could bring an actionto contest the trust has not expired.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thank you. That helps. We were never given anything. My grandmother had mortgaged her house so my aunt and uncle could purchase 9 KFC franchises. My grandmother was a a wise lady. I was in Chicago at the time otherwise none of this would have happened. I believe my grandmother had an interest in my aunts business and she is terrified that we could get any part of it. We will get a lawyer. My side of the family has many in law enforcement. We have many connections. Do you have any other advice for me? Also is there a statute of limitation. Either civil or criminal?
Expert:  RayAnswers replied 11 months ago.

There would not be a statute of limitation here, you would argue they never followed the law and have personal liability to you for any misspent funds and frauding you.I wish you the best.

Expert:  RayAnswers replied 11 months ago.

If you can positive rate it is always much appreciated.

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