Can a trust ever go to probate?

UPDATED: Apr 6, 2013

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Can a trust ever go to probate?

I received notification regarding a cash bequest from a trust but I have not seen the trust instrument. If I sign the release without seeing the trust instrument, could I be missing important information? In the letter I received, it stated, It was the decedants wish that her estate be privately settled to avoid probate”. If she has a trust, why would it say that – hence my opening question. I live thousands of miles away, I know the estate was quite a bit larger than what may be indicated by the bequest and there are no children involved. While she was still alive, someone wisked her out of her home and put her in a nursing home and she was prevented from receiving contact via telephone.

Asked on April 6, 2013 under Estate Planning, Arizona


Victor Waid / Law Office of Victor Waid

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You are advised immediately contact a probate litigation lawyer, for beneficiary representation, in the area where the person died, to demand a copy of the trust from the attorney or trustee, so you can verify the sum coming to you is correct;  if the lawyer receives no response, then he/she can file a petition for an accounting to verify the sum being proposed to pay you.

Do not sign that release. Get independent verification of the proposal is correct as to the sum being offered.

 An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Yes the trust can be pushed into probate for all kinds of reasons, ie fraud, lack of mental capacity.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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