The problem is that the we cannot find the Revocable Living Trust. I tried to find the attorney that handled these items and all the numbers are disconnected. How can I find her. It sounds like she is not practicing any longer, but I am sure the copy she saved has to be somewhere. Please HELP!
The Will which you have found, is probably a pour-over Will, which should republish the original trust, if missing. You will need to make out the terms of the trust, with a copy or a draft, likely your mother received a discussion draft from her attorney during the estate planning process. Once the Will is admitted to probate, your attorney can ask the probate court to publish the trust as a testamentary trust, provided you can flush out the terms with drafts, notes, or a copy of the unsigned trust. Also, check the California State Bar's website and search on the member locator page. That will show you where the attorney is now, or if she is deceased. Also, write to the witnesses on the Will, their addresses are probably shown, and ask them for information on the attorney-draftsman.
You will need a probate attorney to help you. If your mother also lived in Cypress, this will be an Orange County probate, so I suggest you talk with one of the local probate attorneys near the probate department. Contact your Orange County Bar Association for a probate attorney reference, or search this AVVO site for Orange County, probate.
Best of luck to you.
Estate Planning Attorney
This kind of thing happens from time to time. The first thing I'll tell you is not to worry. There will probably be more work and a few more headaches, but this is a solvable problem.
It's going to require a bit of detective work, and you're going to need an attorney. Basically, you're going to have to go to court and establish to the court's satisfaction what your mother's trust said. How you go about doing that really depends on the information you have available to you.
If you look through my other answers, you'll see that I often tell people they don't need an attorney. I try to be straight and honest with folks here. In this case, I think you absolutely need an attorney. There are just too many technical rules and inter-related concepts. For example, you will likely end up with a trust created during lifetime that fails at death, but is republished by the will. You could likely end up serving as executor, trustee and beneficiary. Each of those roles is unique and your rights and responsibilities vary from one to the next. You'd do well to have an attorney guiding you along the way.
Since you're not near my main office, I should point out that I have a satellite office near you if you are interested in a free consultation.
The will is the most important item and you have it. The trust is unimportant at this point unless the trust was funded. Funding is the act of putting assets, the bank accounts and house, in the trust. You can determine funding by the title whether it be the house or the bank account statements; they will say "The x Trust Dated ..." if they do not mention the trust then a probate is going to be required. If the bank statements state trust on them you might beable to attain a copy of the trust from the bank. A local Orange County attorney is necessaryfor help to figure out if the trust was funded and if so possibly find the attorney that drafted the trust. I am happy to assist you.