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Does a beneficiary of a trust have a right to seek banking information

Huntington Beach, CA |

I am a beneficiary in a trust. In the trust there are bk accounts. Do I have a legal right to see the info in the bk. account, prior to the death of the trustee?

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Attorney answers 2


You have a right to a copy of the trust document and the trsut document will tell you if the trustee must provide an accounting. If so then, yes, you have a right to the financial statements of the trust.


Unfortunately, your question is a little unclear, but it is only because you may have some of the terminology mixed up. Let me extrapolate here and answer a couple potential questions.

First, if you are asking whether you have access to the bank account information of someone who created the trust and has named you beneficiary, then unfortunately the answer is no (assuming it is a basic revocable living trust). Since the trust is revocable, the Creator (or "Trustor" or "Settlor") can change or amend the beneficiaries in any manner he or she so pleases. As so, none of the beneficiaries have any rights, and they may not end up being beneficiaries if any amendments are made to the trust.

Now, if you are asking whether you have access to bank account information in a situation where the Creator has already named you beneficiary, and has since passed away, and you simply want the current successor trustee to provide you with information, then yes, you do have the right to access all sorts of information regarding the trust and the trust assets. Although the actual trust document may alter those rights to information, the Probate Code provides you a significant amount of access.

The first thing for you to do in this case would be to obtain a copy of the actual Trust Document from the Trustee. Consider Probate Code Section 16061.5:

"16061.5. (a) When a revocable trust or any portion of a revocable
trust becomes irrevocable because of the death of one or more of the
settlors of the trust, or because, by the express terms of the trust,
the trust becomes irrevocable within one year of the death of a
settlor because of a contingency related to the death of one or more
of the settlors of the trust, the trustee shall provide a true and
complete copy of the terms of the irrevocable trust, or irrevocable
portion of the trust, to any beneficiary of the trust who requests it
and to any heir of a deceased settlor who requests it."

There will be plenty of information in the Trust Document as to what sorts of information the Creator of the Trust wants the Trustee to share with the beneficiaries. Regardless, consider Probate Code Section 16061:

"16061. Except as provided in Section 16064, on reasonable request
by a beneficiary, the trustee shall provide the beneficiary with a
report of information about the assets, liabilities, receipts, and
disbursements of the trust, the acts of the trustee, and the
particulars relating to the administration of the trust relevant to
the beneficiary's interest, including the terms of the trust."

I hope this helps!

Contact me via the information on my profile, and I would be more than happy to sit down with you for a complimentary consultation and go over some of this with you.

Good luck!

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