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RayAnswers, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 41601
Experience:  Texas lawyer for 30 years in Estate law
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My wife and I are successor trustees/administrators of my

Customer Question

My wife and I are successor trustees/administrators of my sister-in-law’s living trust. She passed away in September and we now are responsible for administering the terms of the trust. To conserve her limited resources (only her home, worth about $500K, and savings of about $25K) I am trying to administer the trust without the help of an attorney. Her trust specifies that her estate be distributed equally among 8 nieces and nephews; they are aware of this and there is no issue among them with these terms. My wife and I have been using some of our sister-in-law’s remaining savings to renovate the house and ready it for sale. (I have had power of attorney for asset management and health care since she was diagnosed with dementia.)
I have two questions:
1. In my reading up on the trust administration process I came across a directive that I should “Contact the probate court in the deceased’s county. Under legislation passed in 1997 California requires that you give notice to the trust’s beneficiaries and the decedent’s heirs that the trust has become irrevocable upon the original trustee’s death. A particular form is required for this notice, which you can get from the probate court. Heirs and beneficiaries have 120 days to contest the terms of the trust under California law.” I have searched the probate court “forms” website and I can’t tell which form it is that I would need to perform this duty. Can you help me identify the name and number of this form?
2. To provide all the beneficiaries with the terms of the trust I was told I should offer each of them a copy. I have one paper copy. I asked the attorney that drew up the trust if he would send me an electronic copy that I could more easily share with the beneficiaries, and I have had no response. Should I scan my own paper copy and distribute it, scan the parts that impact my sister-in-law’s heirs for them, or ask them if they want to waive their right to this documentation? Is the lawyer obligated to provide me with an electronic copy if I request one?
Thank you for whatever advice you can provide.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  RayAnswers replied 1 year ago.

Hi and welcome to JA. I am Ray and will be the

expert helping you tonight.

Expert:  RayAnswers replied 1 year ago.

Here is the form that you would use here when the time comes..



___________ executed ____________ FAMILY REVOCABLE TRUST in his capacity as Settlor on _____________, which was last amended __________.

Said Trust Agreement became irrevocable as of the date of death ___________. Pursuant to Probate Code §16061.7, the trustee is required to serve notice to all potential beneficiaries of a trust whenever (1) a Revocable Trust (or portions thereof) become irrevocable; or (2) there is a change of trustee of an irrevocable trust.

1. The name, mailing address and telephone number of the trustee of the trust is set forth below: _______________________________

2. The address of the principal place of trust administration pursuant to Probate Code § 17002 is set forth below:

Your address and that of cotrustee...

Expert:  RayAnswers replied 1 year ago.

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.

This is the law you referenced and the form notice you would draft and send.I appreciate the chance to help you tonight.Please let me know if you have more follow up.Thanks again.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I guess the only question that remains is do I have a right to get an electronic copy of the full trust document from the lawyer who drafted it for us, and can/should he charge me to do this?
Expert:  RayAnswers replied 1 year ago.

If you are a beneficiary he has to provide you a copy of it.You just request it in writing here by email or letter.



Dear Mr. Smith

I am requesting a complete copy of the trust of a beneficiary under California law.As you are aware I am entitled to such a copy for my files and personal records.

You can forward it to me at

Your name

Your address

Your email

Sincerely yours.

Your name

Something like this here.

Thanks for the follow up and chance to help.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you, Ray. I appreciate your expertise!
Expert:  RayAnswers replied 1 year ago.

Henry always a pleasure.

Thanks again if you can positive rate it is much appreciated.