Family trusts protect minor and adult children from financial hardships and financial discrimination from surviving stepparents. A trust can hold any number of assets including real property, heirloom and antique jewelry, banking accounts and vehicles. If you believe you are a beneficiary of a family member’s trust, contact the creator of the trust to learn more. If the creator of the trust is no longer alive, other resources are available to you.
Contact the trustee, who is the person responsible for managing the trust and distributing the trust’s assets according to the instructions provided by the settlor. The settlor is the person(s) who created the trust.
Inquire about the trust’s beneficiaries, who are the family, friends and organizations expected to benefit from the trust. The trustee can provide a list of the trust’s beneficiaries or confirm a specific name if you’re searching by person.
Ask about restrictions on how money can be taken out. For example, a settlor may only provide a monthly allowance for education expenses. Once the beneficiary graduates from college, he may no longer receive a monthly allowance.
Obtain a copy of the trust deed by visiting the courthouse servicing the county where the settlor lived. Request a copy of the trust or the name of the attorney who wrote the trust on behalf of the settlor.
Contact the attorney directly. Provide the name of the settlor and request a list of the trust’s beneficiaries.
Family trusts are filed in probate or family court. Records may also be available at the County Recorder's Office or the County Assessor's Office.
Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.