Does a Trust Beneficiary have the Right to a Copy of the Document?
Jordan: Hi, my name is Jordan Flake. I’m an attorney at Clear Council Law Group, and one question that we get from some of our clients. Sometimes we’ll get a phone call from somebody who’s the beneficiary under their father and mother’s or their parents trust, and they’re sitting there saying, “I know my dad is going to leave me some property through his trust, but I don’t really know what it is he’s leaving me, how much, when I get it.” Sometimes one question that we get a lot is can I demand a copy of that? Basically, am I entitled because I’m a beneficiary under this trust, am I entitled to receive a copy that I can then review?
The answer is while the grantors, or the creators of the trust, are still alive, then beneficiaries don’t have a right to receive at that point any kind of copy or any kind of documentation. Basically the law protects a grantor’s right to just go back and change documents in a revocable trust context. You can’t while they’re still alive. Now after they pass away, Nevada law does allow you to receive a copy of those provisions that directly address and affect your beneficial interest, your distribution. You can request a copy of that from the trustee. You can’t often get the entire trust, but you can at least get those provisions that directly affect you. Again, here in this situation we’re talking about after the grantors have passed away. Any follow up question on that?
Brian: The follow up question can a grantor put language in the trust where the beneficiary is allowed to see the language?
Jordan: Yes. In fact, grantors can always just … If you’re creating a trust for your kids and they say, “Hey, Mom, Dad, I want a copy of it.” Then grantors can always just give a copy to whoever they want. It’s their trust. They could also put language in there that says, “Under all circumstances, notwithstanding any of the foregoing language in this trust, I desire that my beneficiaries all have a copy of this trust.” You can really customize that to your family circumstances. Sometimes you might think it would be best for all of my beneficiaries to have a copy of this and I want to make sure that that happens. In any event if you’re listed as a beneficiary in your parents trust and you’re wondering or maybe you’re worried about whether or not … what your beneficial interest is in that trust and you just want to know, that’s a great question for us. Come to us, bring any documents that you might have, and whether they’re alive or deceased we can reach out, make inquiries, and figure out what you’re entitled to.