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If a pour-over-will is probated in NJ, and there is a Trust stated in the will are the heirs entitled to see the trust?

Moorestown, NJ |

Father died in May 2010. Will never probated in NJ. Father had 3 natural children and 3 step-children. Step Childen are trying to probate will after a 2 year delay. Father's second wife was exectrix of will but had dementia and died 1 year later August 2011. Step-daughter sent a copy of the pour-over-will which states all things go into the trust. She has refused to show us the trust.

Attorney Answers 3

  1. Well, if you are a beneficiary under the Trust then you have the right to see it, otherwise you likely have no rights with respect to same. An exception might be if you were going to challenge the Will or Trust then you may have additional rights. If that is the case you should consult with a local attorney for advice.

    Good Luck!

    Legal Disclaimer: Paul A. Smolinski is licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois only, and as such, his answers to AVVO inquiries are based on his understanding of Illinois law only. His answers are for general information about perceived legal issues within this question only and no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to extend any right of confidentiality between you and Mr. Smolinski, to constitute legal advice, or create an attorney/client or other contractual relationship. An attorney/client relationship is formed only by specific agreement including an evaluation of the specific legal problem and review of all the facts and documents at issue. We try to insure the accuracy of this information, but we cannot guarantee its accuracy. The reader should never assume that this information applies to his or her specific situation or constitutes legal advice. Therefore, please consult competent counsel that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction and who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances.

  2. In New Jersey, there is no statute specifically stating that the trust should be provided. However, a court would grant you access to that information. Because of revisions to the probate statute, I would stress that you review this issue with competent counsel promptly. There is typically a four month statute of limitations for in-state residents to file an action to set aside a will. Based on the revisions to the statute, that rule may be applied to trusts as well. The fact that your step-sister is refusing to give you a copy of the trust should be a red flag. Good luck.

    This response does not constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. It is also not to be taken as firm legal advice as such would be contingent on a full inquiry by the attorney into the complete background of the facts and circumstances surrounding this matter. The response is meant to be a helpful guide to a question in a manner which reflects the limited information provided by the inquirer.

  3. A Pour Over Will is used first to name a guardian for minor children. Second, it protects against intestacy in the event any assets have not been transferred into the trust at the death of the Trustor/Owner. Its function is to “pour” any assets left out of the trust into it so they are ultimately distributed according to the terms of the trust. Short of contesting the creation of the Trust by seeking judicial intervention, the only people that are entitled to look at the actual Trust are those named within the Trust. Be aware of any no contest language in the Pour Over Will before you consider instituting any litigation.

    The above answer is for informational purposes only. This answer, as well as any response to it, does not create an attorney-client relationship. This information is not priviliged, nor is it confidential. It is recommended that if you need assitance with a legal matter, that you contact an attorney privately. If you would like our professional legal guidance, please visit my website and contact our office to set up an appointment:

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