How Can I Find Out If I’m a Beneficiary of a Trust?
My uncle passed away in September of 2020. According to his son, I am named in the trust as a beneficiary. (I have received nothing from Wells Fargo to say whether this is true or not.) At this point, I just want access to see if I am named. My cousin is very unreliable due to limited mental capacity and it is through a friend of my uncle that he learned this. How can I find out if I am in a trust? (My uncle and I were close but he did not keep up with addresses, etc. His wife did, but she passed two years before him.) I just want to see if I am named because I am contemplating a move to the east coast and would like to know before I move.
If you are a beneficiary, the trust is required to give you notice. This requirement was triggered by your uncle’s death. Prior to that time, even though you were already a “beneficiary” of the trust, you were not a current beneficiary, just a future one. So, during his life, you had no right to information about the trust. But now, if you are indeed a beneficiary, you are entitled to notice. Of course, the trustee needs to be able to find you to give you that notice.
It sounds like you believe that Wells Fargo is the trustee. Assuming that’s the case, I’d recommend contacting their trust department to explain the situation and to provide your address. They should let you know if you are a beneficiary. The problem is that if they don’t get back to you, it could mean that you’re not a beneficiary. But it could also mean that the information did not get to the right party. I’d also ask your cousin if he might provide you with a copy of the trust, which would provide the answer. Or, if your uncle’s estate is being probated, your cousin might provide the name and contact information for the attorney who is helping with the process. He or she should be able to help with this.