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How to Find a Trust Document. Looking for a possible trustee and other avenues.

You can find 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.

If you are a beneficiary looking to hire a lawyer to find a copy of a trust document, we at the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin are here for you. You can call send us an email at attorneyalbertgoodwin@gmail.com or call us at 718-509-9774.

sample copy of a trust document front page

The trustee is the best person to ask for a copy of a trust document

Unlike wills that are admitted to probate, trusts are not part of public records. If you are a beneficiary to a trust, to find it, 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.

Ask people who may know where the trust document is

Trusts are not a public record. There is no registry that you can look at. In New York, trusts are not filed with the court even after the death of the person who made it. So it’s unlikely that the trust is in a public place where anyone would have access to it.

The best place to find a trust document is by a trustee. You can assemble a list of people who can possibly be a trustee and get in touch with them. It includes the relatives of the person who made the trust and their friends. The trustee can be their pastor, financial advisor, banker, attorney, social worker or another professional.

Even if the relatives, friends or professional advisors of the person who made the trust are not trustees, they might be able to give you a clue as to who the trustee may be or to point you to where you can find a copy of the trust document.

We don’t have your trust document

Our office does not have your trust document and does not know where it is. People call us all time asking where they can find a copy of a trust document. This article offers some suggestions where to look. But we don’t actually know where it is or how to find your particular trust .

What happens if a trustee fails to provide the 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 finding 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 718-509-9774 or send us an email at attorneyalbertgoodwin@gmail.com.