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  1. #1
    mschieme Guest

    Question Missing Trust Documents

    What is the name of your state? Maryland

    I have been appointed personal representative of my motherís estate. The will is in probate and Iím trying to gain access to an account that, according to Dreyfus, was set up as a trust. The word trustee appears after my motherís name. The problem is that neither Dreyfus, the broker, nor I can locate a copy of the Trust Document(s). Dreyfus will not release the funds to the estate without them. The Letters of Administration issued by the Register of Wills (Prince Georges County) is not sufficient. Iíve gone to two financial institutions to try and get a Letter of Incumbency required by Dreyfus. They have refused since Dreyfus requires that the institution will be liable if they certify in error. To make it hard, the account was opened in 1965.

    What is my next step?
  2. #2
    Dandy Don is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    9,495
    Trust documents are private and usually kept by the person for whom it was created (the grantor), sometimes the beneficiaries, the lawyer (if one was used) and the bank where the money/assets are held (if one was used) or financial institution (stock brokerage). It would not be filed anywhere as a public record.

    QUESTION: HOW MUCH MONEY IS IN THE DREYFUS ACCOUNT/OR WHAT IS THE TOTAL VALUE OF THE STOCK WORTH NOW?

    With the passage of so much time, it is going to be a bit difficult, but probably not impossible, for you to locate it.

    (1) Have you looked through all your mother's personal papers at her home? Would she have kept a safe deposit box at a bank for her important documents?

    (2) Go to the county courthouse of the city where your father died and look at his probate file to see if there is perhaps any mention of the name of the trust, who the trustee is, and where it is held, and the name of the trust. Maybe your father created his own trust in his own name, but named your mother as trustee, and those assets could have passed on to her at his death.

    (3) Call or write a letter to all banks in the city where your mother died (include your mother's date of birth and her Social Security Number) and ask their Trust Department to check their computer records to see if your mother set up a trust account at that bank.

    (4) Do you recall the name of any attorneys or accountants your mother may have had contact withi?

    (5) The Dreyfus account was large enough to earn interest or dividends each year that are taxable. As administrator, you can request a copy of the most recent federal income tax return and state income tax return she filed while alive (you would request of course any attachments to the returns as well, such as Form 1099's--showing interest/dividends payments and the name and address of the companies reporting them), W2's, etc. which would give clues to sources of income, and also ask the IRS to check to see if there are any TRUST tax returns with your mother's name as beneficiary or trustee (or ask them to do a search of Taxpayer ID's to see if the name of your mother's trust shows up). The federal form can be requested on Form 4506 (visit the IRS website at [url]www.irs.gov[/url] to get more information on that topic). Cost is $23 and it will take about 60 days for you to receive it, but it might possibly provide some clues.

    Probably the reason that Dreyfus is not releasing the funds to you as administrator is because they have a legal duty to release those funds only to the trustee, since the trustee is the only person in charge of managing the trust. However, it does seem like they are a bit negligent in their duties if they don't already have a copy of the trust in their files (hopefully your mother provided them with a copy when she set up the account), but shouldn't they also have asked her for name and addresses of trust beneficiaries--shouldn't you also ask them what other alternatives can be done if the trust document can not be found? Maybe you want to consult with a business law attorney--seems like since they know her Social Security Number, they should be able to release the funds to you if the trustee can't be located and if you raise a little stink about it, since you do have the legal authority to claim all of her assets.

    Also it is possible that there might not even be an original trust document. Your mother could have designated her account as trustee or to be in trust, meaning that it should be held at Dreyfus until she died, when it should then normally pass to her estate.

    You also need to consider speaking to a local trust attorney to see if they have any specific suggestions of places you could look to try to find original trust documents.

    DANDY DON (tiekh@yahoo.com)
    Last edited by Dandy Don; 06-27-2002 at 09:48 AM.

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