Posted by Jeremy Swanson
On July 07, 2016

Who Has A Right To See A Copy Of A Will Or A Trust?

During the lifetime of the person or persons making a will or a trust, the answer is “no one.” People have a right to keep their plans secret or only make limited disclosure. This is also important because wills and trusts can be changed, and full disclosure of terms that are later changed could create real problems among disappointed beneficiaries.

After death, a will must be probated, if there is any property passing to beneficiaries under the will. This requires lodging (filing) the will with the probate court, where it becomes public record and anyone can view it with a proper request.

Trusts, because they do not go through probate, are different. Anyone who is a beneficiary under a trust is entitled to view the portion of the trust that pertains to them, and may request a copy. Anyone who is not a beneficiary and is not a trustee is not entitled to review the trust provisions.

DISCLAIMER: All legal principles quoted are valid as of the date of writing in the State of California. However, you should NEVER base your actions on a legal article, blog, or internet story, as facts in real life are complicated. You should have your case evaluated by an attorney experienced in the area of law needed for your case. In addition, there are often exceptions and potential changes to results that occur due to facts that you may think are trivial or unimportant. This article should not be taken in any way as legal advice on your specific legal matter.

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Read our previous post here