my good friend recently passed away in Malden, MASS and I have been named in her will. The gentleman and his wife who took care of my friend "Ruthie" have sent me a letter stating what I had been left but I have no copy of the will nor have I seen anything from the legal aspect concerning this. He faxed me a paper yesterday (from Staple's) which it looks like he printed up himself on a plain white piece of paper which he had asked me to sign stating I had received the check from a revocable trust and have it notarized - my notary at the bank and I both decided against this. My question is: As a person named in the will do I not have a right to see the will or have a coyp of it and as I know little about trusts, is a will still in place with a revocable trust.
There is not enough information to accurately answer your question. My guess is that the Will is likely a pour-over will, which directs any probate assets to the Trust. So your having a copy of that is probably useless. If it has been filed with the court, (which would need to be done if there was a probate estate, and is often done whether an estate is open or not), then the Will is on file with the court and is part of the public record. You could obtain a copy very easily.
Generally, if there is a Trust, you are entitled to know at least the provisions of the trust that relate to you. You are generally not entitled to know who else the beneficiaries are or how much they are receiving. (This is the law in Michigan. Massachusetts law may differ.)
It is likely that the Trust does not need to be registered with the court and is not part of the public record. The only way you would be able to get a copy of the trust would be to take the trustee to court. In that case, the judge might or might not agree to allow you to see the whole thing. It depends on the judge and the facts of the situation. If the trust has been registered, then getting a copy would be just as easy, as in the case of a filed Will.
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 the subject area in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state.
I would suggest re-posting this with the Commonwealth of Massachussetts clearly labeled in the first line so that your chances of getting a local answer improve.
Generally you are entitled to a copy of either the complete document or at least the sections that apply to you. I would definitely want to see that BEFORE accepting anything as my full portion.
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