What Happens if You Cannot Find the Living Trust?April 26, 2010 6:53 pm Uncategorized
In California, living trusts are not recorded. Therefore, a premium is placed on finding the executed document. Even a copy is better than the original.
What if you cannot find either the original or a copy? I would then ask you how do you know there was a revocable living trust executed? If you are certain one was prepared, you may want to speak to the attorney whom you think prepared the document. If you do not know who that is or if it was not prepared by a lawyer, then this is of no assistance.
A second set of questions involve whether any of the decedent’s assets were retitled in the name of the living trust? For example, was a new deed prepared, signed, and recorded with the county recorder transferring the house into the revocable living trust? Was the title on a bank account changed? If the trust cannot be found and title was not changed on any assets, then even if a trust was created, it by definition cannot have any effect.
On the other hand, if assets were retitled in the name of the trust, there is evidence that there was a trust. After you have exhausted your search options, the safe thing to do is to go to court and get an order allowing someone to serve as the successor trustee. The assets will have to be distributed according to the law of intestacy.