You can get a copy of a trust document by asking the trustee for a copy. If they refuse to provide it, you can compel them to provide a copy through a Surrogate’s Court proceeding to compel a copy of the trust.
Unlike wills that are admitted to probate, trusts are not part of public records. If you are a beneficiary to a trust, to obtain a copy, you will need to contact the trustee by making a written request. Another way is to have another beneficiary get you a copy. If you are unsure if you are a beneficiary to a trust, you can write to the trustee to inquire whether you are a named beneficiary. A trustee must automatically provide a named beneficiary under a trust with a copy of the trust instrument. However, if you are not a beneficiary, the trustee is under no legal obligation to provide you with a copy.
What happens if a trustee fails to provide beneficiary with a copy of the trust document?
If the trustee ignores your request and fails to provide you with a copy of the trust, it is recommended that you contact a New York City trust attorney to assist you with the matter. An attorney can advise you if you have sufficient grounds to file a petition with the New York City Surrogate’s Court asking the Court to issue an order compelling the trustee to provide you with a copy of the trust. If it is determined that you do have sufficient grounds, the attorney can prepare the petition and represent you at the hearing, so that you can get a copy of the trust.
If you are a beneficiary of the trust, the court will usually order the trustee to provide a copy of the trust. In a separate proceeding, the court will order the Trustee to account for the Trust’s assets. Trustees can be removed for failure to account for the corpus of the trust and for failure to comply with the court order and provide a copy of the trust to the beneficiaries.
Since trust matters are complicated, find a New York City trust attorney who is the most qualified to assist you with finding out whether you are entitled to an inheritance under a trust and obtaining a copy of the trust document. If you wish to speak to an experienced New York City trust attorney, call the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin at (212) 233-1233.