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Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 36982
Experience:  16 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
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My Sister died 2-25-2015. She had a Trust that named her boyfriend.

Customer Question

My Sister died 2-25-2015. She had a Trust that named her boyfriend. No one in the family has received legal notice of the death and I thought that it was required in California that all persons that might inherit if there were no trust had to be notified. Is this true?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.
If sister had all her assets in a trust, then there would be no estate to go into probate and the trustee of the trust would control the trust assets and any distribution dictated in the trust documents.
Trusts are entirely confidential and don't go though public probate as they are handled privately without court intervention. The trustee will notify all beneficiaries of the trust and then distribute assets according to the terms of trust.
So the trustee only has a legal duty to notify beneficiaries of the trust once it becomes irrevocable upon the death of the grantor (maker) (i.e. sister).
Other potential heirs are only required to be notified if there is an actual estate that is opened to probate any assets that were in the decedent's name when they passed. So if everything was in the trust, or otherwise disposed of (i.e. joint tenancy property) then there would be no probate and no notice necessary for any potential heirs because there is nothing in the estate.

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