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LegalBeagle

LegalBeagle

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43 minutes ago, LegalBeagle said:

Does a statutory beneficiary to a will have a right in New York State to know the contents of the will and associated trust?

Before or after the death of the testator/settlor?

 

After the death of the testator, the will should be recorded.  At that point it is a public document and it can be viewed at the clerk's office or a copy can be obtained from the clerk.  Before the death of the  testator, no one is entitled to know the contents of the will.  Wills take effect at death and are simply pieces of paper until then.

 

Access to the text of a trust is normally only available to a beneficiary of the trust.  A statutory heir is not necessarily a beneficiary or potential beneficiary of the trust.  The trustee can also specify that no one can have access to the trust document.

 

Please explain your situation if you wish further information.

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1 hour ago, LegalBeagle said:

Does a statutory beneficiary to a will have a right in New York State to know the contents of the will and associated trust?

The specific situation is about a deceased testator. It is believed that the will has a provision that bequeths everything in the estate to an existing trust that will hold the assets received from the bequest of the will for the benefit of the upkeep and maintenance of a certain parcel of real property in perpetuity.  

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To RetiredInVa.  Does a trustee have the power to "specify that no one can have access to the trust document." or is it the Settlor of the trust that can so specify and not an appointed trustee that has such authority?  Is that power granted by statute or from settled case law?

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Has a probate proceeding been started?  If it has, you'd generally be able to see the will because it would be part of the court's file and thus presumptively a publicly-available document.

 

 

Edited by MiddlePart
fixed a typo

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New York law is notoriously not favorable to beneficiaries looking for/requesting a copy of the trust.  You will want to consult with a New York trust law attorney about this, since there probably aren't any who are looking at this message board.  Maybe there is a way to get what you want by asking for a different document, such as accounting report or tax return information.

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7 hours ago, LegalBeagle said:

Does a statutory beneficiary to a will have a right in New York State to know the contents of the will and associated trust?

 

For starters, you're going to have to explain what you mean by "statutory beneficiary to a will."  The intestate law governs who gets what when there is no will, but a beneficiary of a will is not "statutory" in any way.

 

Beyond that, it is generally the case that anyone mentioned in a will has a right to a copy.  Moreover, if the will is probated, it will be part of the public case file.

 

As far as any "associated trust," you're going to have to explain what you mean by that as well.

 

 

2 hours ago, knort4 said:

New York law is notoriously not favorable to beneficiaries looking for/requesting a copy of the trust.

 

Which specific law(s) are you talking about?

 

 

4 hours ago, LegalBeagle said:

Does a trustee have the power to "specify that no one can have access to the trust document." or is it the Settlor of the trust that can so specify and not an appointed trustee that has such authority?

 

The settlor can specify that, but the specific facts matter a lot.  The trustee can restrict access to only those persons required by law to have access.

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No probate proceedings have been commenced at this time.  It is believed that the will provides that all assets of the estate will go to an existing trust that has been established for the maintenance, upkeep and carrying expenses of a specific parcel of real property.

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Again, what did you mean by "statutory beneficiary to a will"?  As I explained previously, that term doesn't make much sense -- especially if it is correct that the trust is the only beneficiary under the will.

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