How do you differentiate a living trust to a will? 18 Answers as of December 30, 2013

My father left all to my stepbrother in a living trust instead of a will. He has 4 natural children who got nothing, as my sister says there is no document for the family to view. How do I see this proof?

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Law Offices of Robert Beatson II | Robert Beatson II
Suggest you talk to an attorney who handles MD estate/trust matters. Information will need to be assembled and carefully reviewed for a proper analysis and next steps to be determined. An experienced estate/trust attorney in MD should be able to handle this type of matter and to protect the interests of the client.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 12/30/2013
Gottlieb & Goren, P.C.
Gottlieb & Goren, P.C. | Aaron W. Goren
File for probating of your Father's estate, without a Will, in Probate Court. The Personal Representative will have the power to view all relevant papers.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 12/20/2013
O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C.
O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C. | Sean P. O'Keefe
In Maryland, a living will can distribute property without probate court oversight, whereas a will can distribute property subject to probate court oversight. One will need to examine the living trust to determine whether property passes pursuant to the document. If the document is not provided for examination, then one can file a claim in Circuit Court to require the living will be available for examination, though be aware there may be time limitations.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 12/10/2013
Goldsmith & Guymon
Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
A living trust is a private document in Nevada. If you are not a beneficiary you are not entitled to see it. I suggest you speak with an attorney a=to address the specific facts if you have doubts or concerns. This information is only intended to give general information in response to an inquiry. It does not establish an attorney client relationship. This response is only based upon the limited facts presented and is merely intended to assist you in determining if you should contact an attorney to provide you with legal advice.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 12/10/2013
Durkin Law, P.C.
Durkin Law, P.C. | Roger Durkin
Challenge the "living" trust. The trust is a vehicle through which one can place property for the benefit of others. If he did that... the property was transferred. Why he did it or whether it can be changed is the work of probate court. If the trust was not properly formed... you really do need an attorney.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 12/10/2013
    Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
    For your purposes and question, there probably is no valid distinction between the two. You can ask to see the Trust documents; if ownership of all the assets have not been conveyed to the Trust then they would pass by intestate rules.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/10/2013
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    A living trust IS a document to view. You are entitled to a copy as an heir of your father.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/10/2013
    Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
    A trust does not need to be probated. A will does. You should be able to see the trust.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 12/10/2013
    Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
    To administer a will, a court proceeding is necessary. Trust administration is private. Get a lawyer to demand a copy of the trust.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/10/2013
    Donald T. Scher & Associates, P.C.
    Donald T. Scher & Associates, P.C. | Donald Scher
    A Will is controlling over all assets held in the name of your father. The trust is controlling over all assets owned by the trust. Sometimes, a Will provides that upon the death of the testator, all assets are to be delivered to the trustee and distributed according to the terms of the trust.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 12/10/2013
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    The living trust was in effect while your dad was living. Upon his death, it became an irrevocable trust. The trust must be funded to be valid. This funding can start at the time of its creation or upon your father's death. The will will define whether any of his estate is to be transferred to his trust. The trust identifies the trustee and who the beneficiaries are. It also will identify how long the trust is to be in effect and what is to happen to the remaining funds at that time. If you believe that there is a will, you can seek a hearing with the court to have the will produced and filed.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 12/6/2013
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    Hire an attorney to threaten to sue unless a copy of the trust document is given to him or her to review. If the document is provided, then you can at least see the details of the trust. At that point you can decide whether or not it makes sense to sue the step-brother for undue influence, etc.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 12/6/2013
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd.
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd. | Randall C. Romei
    A living trust is created and goes into existence during the life of the settlor (the creator of the trust). It can hold assets of the settlor while the settlor is alive. The trust would typically have provisions for the distribution of assets upon the death of the settlor. The trust document is not a matter of public record. A will goes into effect at the death of the creator of the will (the testator). The will contains provisions for the distribution of assets owned by the testator at the time of his death. Assets owned in the trust are not subject to probate. Typically, the settlor would have a will in addition to the trust. The will would typically transfer assets owned by the testator into the trust at the time of death but it could also have other testamentary provisions. Statute requires that the will be filed within 30 days of the date of death. An interested party could open a probate based upon the will, if filed, or an intestate estate if no will is on file. An interested party can open the probate even if another person is nominated as the executor. Once a probate is opened, an interested party could force the court appointed representative to obtain and disclose a copy of the trust for the family to see. Given the fact that the family can force disclosure of the trust document it would make sense that the trustee under the living trust should provide a copy to the family.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 12/6/2013
    Estrada Law P.C. | Michele Ungvarsky
    A trust does not have to go through probate like a will does, therefore the documents are private. You can try to find out who the trustee is and TRY to get verification of the beneficiary; however, this information does not have to be published to anyone.
    Answer Applies to: New Mexico
    Replied: 12/6/2013
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    GET AN ATTORNEY ASAP! You are entitled to a copy of the trust if it exists and an attorney can help you get it. Your fact pattern is suspicious and unless you were all very estranged from your father, you might want to look into an undue influence claim against your stepbrother.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/6/2013
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    Unfortunately for you and your siblings there is no requirement to register a trust unless there is a dispute concerning the trust. As I am sure the entire scenario is not expressed in this small blurb, I suggest you see an attorney to see what possibly can be done.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 12/6/2013
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    A trust has to be created so there must be documentation somewhere. Tursts can be created for many reasons but often they are established to provide a regular, steady income to a person who is incapacitated or incompetant or otherwise unable to handle money successfully.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 12/6/2013
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C.
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C. | Bernard H. Greenberg
    You are entitled to see the trust. In addition, you may seek the opening of his estate. Consult with an attorney specializing in trust and estate matters for assistance.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 12/6/2013
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