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  1. #1
    debbyinca is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    How can I find out if I'm a beneficiary?

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)?

    CA

    My father died but no will was ever filed and all property was sold by stepmother who took the money and left the state. When my father married my stepmother he brought into the marriage 2 homes that were completely paid for and made the balloon payment of $200k due on my stepmothers home so she wouldn't lose it. A year or so after my dad married my stepmother he told my sister and I that he was going to be setting up a living trust giving my sister and I both homes (grandma's & his), but the home my stepmother had would remain hers so she could pass it down to her children. My father worked for over 30 yrs as a plumber and after retiring he took care of his mother until her death 5 yrs later. After my father died my stepmother sold all three homes and collected all assets and left the state without saying a word to me or my sister. I find it hard to believe that all property and assets my father had could be disposed of without my sister and I ever knowing. I was told by an attorney that as an heir my sister and I should have been given a copy of the trust, but since we weren't we would need to find her then send a letter stating that as heirs we request she provide us with a copy of the trust. If she doesn't respond I was told that I would need to retain legal council so that I could get a copy of the trust. HELP! Neither my sister or I can afford to pay for legal assistance. Also, is there a statute of limitations on going after a copy of the trust?
  2. #2
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    California
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    It's entirely possible that the properties passed to your step-mother outside of the trust and outside of probate. It would depend on how the properties were titled.
  3. #3
    tranquility is offline Senior Member
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    Most beneficiaries (depending on possibility) must be notified when the trust becomes irrevocable on death.

    Enforcing such laws are hard.
    Neither my sister or I can afford to pay for legal assistance.
    If so, I'd walk. Maybe send a letter to the trustee for a copy of the trust, but if it doesn't come, there is little the OP will be able to do about it.
  4. #4
    curb1 is offline Senior Member
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    Mar 2002
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    oregon
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    You need to go to the courthouse to see how these properties were titled. That won't cost you anything and you will be able to tell if they were in the trust. You will also be able to tell if step-mother was named in the title before your father died.

    Your situation illustrates how important it is for children to get involved in their parent's estate planning. It is so easy to manipulate these things if no one knows, or cares, about what happens to their assets upon death. Things don't work out well if everything is left to chance. All it takes is one person who knows what they are doing and they can easily come out "the winner". Step-mother seems to have been that person. Who was the trustee of the trust? Why didn't your father give you a copy? Why didn't you ask for a copy? Step-mother would have had a difficult time selling these properties if she hadn't done some planning prior to your father's death.
  5. #5
    debbyinca is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by tranquility View Post
    Most beneficiaries (depending on possibility) must be notified when the trust becomes irrevocable on death.

    Enforcing such laws are hard.

    If so, I'd walk. Maybe send a letter to the trustee for a copy of the trust, but if it doesn't come, there is little the OP will be able to do about it.
    Is there a time limit for finding and requesting a copy of the trust? And if so when does the clock start?

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