my aunt passed away and although there is a will stating the beneficiary is her neighbor 8 yrs ago, we have found evidence she may have created a living family trust 3 1/2 yrs ago but are unable to locate the trust or find out where it was drawn up. Is there a way to find the trust?
There are a few ways to see if a Trust was created. Although it is not required to record a Trust in Arizona, it is possible that it is recorded in the jurisdiction's Recorder's Office which makes the Trust a public document. Sometimes, the personal representative or executor of the existing Will is also a Trustee. Generally, the Grantor or Settlor (creater of the Trust) will notify the successor Trustees that they were named in the Trust.
If your aunt has worked with an attorney, you may want to try to contact the attorney to see if the attorney has a copy or is named as the Trustee.
Sometimes Grantors choose to place a Trust in their safe deposit box in a bank, which makes it difficult to get the document immediately. Access to the safe deposit box is limited to other individuals named on the account. Otherwise, the personal representative will eventually have access.
The information provided does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is for general information purposes only. For actual legal advice, contact an attorney directly.
I agree with Attorney Castillo. In addition, when people create a trust, they normally transfer all of their assets to the trust. You can check the public records and see if there is a deed to the trust. That will very likely get you the name of the attorney who drafted the trust and the date that the trust was signed.
If you find that the property was NOT title in the name of the trust, then it suggests there may not have been a trust. Finding the attorney is going to be a key, because he/she almost certainly kept at least a copy of the trust, which you can now use.
Best of luck to you!
*** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state.
I agree with everything Mr. Castillo has already said. Another potential way to find out is to look at the house. If there is a house, many people will have placed title to the house in the Trust. Checking the recorder's office for this might at least answer the question definitively whether or not it exists.
Douglas Edmunds is in the business of helping people and companies file for bankruptcy protection. The bankruptcy code requires that I call my firm a "debt relief agency." Any answers or information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be a legal opinion, legal advice or a complete discussion of the legal issues. This is not intended to create a attorney-client relationship. Each individual's situation is different and you should seek independent legal advice from an attorney familiar with the laws of your state for specific information.
Another way to look for a will or trust is to place an ad in the local Bar publication asking attorneys if anyone has the original or copy of the document you are looking for.
The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.
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