How to Get a Copy of a Living Trust

By Susan Ruckdeschel
A living trust is a document held by the trustee of a deceased person's estate.

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Living trusts enable people to allocate their assets while alive, making the transition easier and more manageable once someone has died. A living trust is a private document made public to immediate family members. Assets are distributed privately, avoiding probate court, saving in delays and additional fees. If a copy of a living trust hasn't been made available when someone dies, there is a way to obtain one.

Make a request in writing and send it to the deceased person's trustee. All heirs and successors have a legal right to a copy of a living trust.

File a petition with the court of residence of the trustee and ask for an accounting, along with the terms of the living trust. The trustee is required by law to provide this.

If the trustee does not respond, request a copy of the living trust from probate court. This too must be made in writing. Indicate your relationship to the deceased, as well as all previous attempts to obtain a copy, and from whom.

If you still don't get a reply, hire an attorney in the county that administered the trust, or residence of the trustee. File a petition with the court of residence of the trustee. An attorney can make the request by phone and file the proper paperwork. Attorneys are often more successful at locating people and documents than non-lawyers are.

About the Author

Susan Ruckdeschel began writing in 1989 as a guest columnist for the "Rochester Democrat and Chronicle." Her work continues to blossom, with the recent publication of a handbook for teachers and numerous other books soon to be released. Ruckdeschel has a Master of Science in education from Nazareth College and is completing her Doctor of Philosophy in educational leadership.

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