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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

Posted

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!

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Posted

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.

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3 comments

Martin L Bearg

Martin L Bearg

Posted

Mr. Begley handles estate matters in Moorestown and its environs. I cannot recommend a more highly respected and competent attorney for you to consult regarding the question you have asked. I suspect that because of the timing of the deaths of the designated executrix, and the finding of the will by your step-sister, a court will allow it to be probated at this time, and as Mr. Begley notes, a court will probably allow you to have access to view the trust referenced therein to determine what, if any rights you may have.

Asker

Posted

Thank you both for your good advice. They have had possesion of the will for 2 yrs but did not act on filing in NJ. They need to probate it now b/c they found funds not listed in will or accompanying trust. Believe as natural children we have some rights to those funds.

Martin L Bearg

Martin L Bearg

Posted

The Will only needs to be probated if the funds found were not owned by the trust. Once probated the funds are transferred from the executor to the trustee(s). When a will is submitted for probaate, all "INTERESTED" parties have to be notified. Interested parties are those named in the will, as well as someone like yourself, who is a natural born child of your deceased parent, who would be entitled to inherit IF the will (and/or trust) were declared invalid. Absent proof of undue influence by your half-siblings, these new found monies will be distributed per the terms of the trust, which means, if you gave us all the facts and we understand them clearly, you still get nothing. What should also happen is that 706, if one was required, as well as the NJ Inheritance and Estate Tax Returns need to be amended.

Posted

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: http://www.snblegal.com/

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