If you have lost your trust documents, it can be a very stressful situation. However, there are steps you can take to recover them.
First, a quick reminder: It is vitally important to keep your original trust documents in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box or with a trusted friend or family member. You might also consider keeping a digital copy of the documents.
But since you are here, you’ve probably discovered your original trust document is missing. Which begs the question, “how do I find my original document?”
Keep reading, we might be able to help you with that missing original trust document.
How To Find a Lost Trust Document – Gather Information
To aid in the quest to find a missing trust document, you’ll need to gather all pertinent information available. This can help you in your search and potentially provide clues on where the document might be stored.
Start by collecting details such as:
- The date the trust was created.
- The name(s) of the beneficiary or beneficiaries included in the trust.
- Who signed the trust document (such as grantor, trustee, or witnesses).
If you have any correspondence or paperwork related to your trust, review these materials for additional information that may help to find your lost trust document.
Also, create an organized checklist of potential locations and contacts. This will make it easier for you when searching for a misplaced trust document.
And reach out to the original trustees or successor trustees named in the trust agreement. They may have a copy of the original trust document or know where to find them.
Next step, contact the original estate planning attorney.
Contact The Attorney Who Created The Trust Document
One of the most important things to do when trying to locate a lost trust document is reaching out to your estate planning attorney. It’s very common for attorneys who drafted the original trust document to keep copies on file.
If you don’t remember which attorney helped create your trust, consider contacting a law firm that specializes in estate planning. They may be able to offer suggestions to help locate records related to your trust, or offer legal advice on the best way forward if this isn’t feasible.
The best place to begin looking is with the estate planning attorney who created the trust. This can be the downfall of using an online or DIY will or trust website that is no longer around.
Not an option? There are some other options that might help.
Search for Records at County Clerk’s Office
If you have exhausted other avenues for locating your lost trust document, consider visiting the county clerk’s office in the jurisdiction where it was created to search their public records.
The county clerk is responsible for maintaining public records, including documents related to trusts and estate planning.
In Texas, there are no requirements to file trusts with government offices. However, if a will or other legal documents were created and filed at the same time as your trust, those details might lead you to the originating attorney.
In some cases, online databases may also be available for searching public records from home.
Still no luck? Then you probably should contact an experienced estate planning attorney like Leslie Thomas who can help you work on a replacement.
She can also help you understand the difference between revocable and non-revocable trusts.
Understand the Nature of Your Lost Trust Document
A revocable living trust, or more commonly, trust, is a legal arrangement set up to control your assets. It’s like an estate plan for most of your trust assets.
A trust is a written agreement allowing a trustee to manage and distribute property on behalf of beneficiaries while avoiding probate court proceedings. You might think of it as an asset protection plan.
These asset(s) can include real estate, trust property, business interests, income, etc.
For more information on trusts, go to the IRS site. Also, each state has its own legal requirements regarding trusts. You can find further information on Texas law here.
You Might Have To Revoke The Lost Trust Document
If you still cannot locate your lost trust document after following these steps and consulting with professionals such as estate planning attorneys or financial institution representatives, consider revoking the original document and creating a new one that accurately reflects your wishes.
If revoking the lost trust becomes necessary, consult with an experienced estate planning attorney who can guide you through this process and help create new estate planning documents tailored specifically for your needs.
It is important to note that a trust contest may arise if the original trust documents cannot be located, so it is crucial to take action as soon as possible.
If you need help finding original trust documents or creating new estate planning documents, Thomas-Walters, PLLC is here to assist you.
For personalized guidance on all aspects of estate planning, including revocable living trusts, contact us today.
Let’s Recap How to Find a Lost Trust Document
1. Contact the Attorney Who Drafted the Trust
Gather all the relevant information about the trust. Then contact the attorney who drafted the trust. They may have a copy of the original trust documents or can help you recreate the document.
2. Check Financial Institutions
Check with any financial institutions involved with the trust, such as banks or investment firms. They may have a copy of the trust documents on file.
3. Search County Recorder’s Office
Search the county recorder’s office where the trust was created. Property deeds related and transferred into trusts might be recorded there.
4. Petition the Probate Court
If you are unable to locate the trust documents, you may need to petition the probate court to establish the validity of a lost trust.
FAQs About How To Find a Lost Trust Document
How do I get proof of trust?
To obtain proof of trust, you can request a copy from your estate planning attorney who may have one on file. Additionally, financial institutions involved in administering the trust might also provide documentation related to the account.
Where are trusts recorded?
In most cases, trusts aren’t required to be publicly recorded like deeds or mortgages. However, certain types of trusts may require recording at the county clerk’s office where they were created. To find out if your specific type of trust was recorded, visit your local county clerk’s office.
Lost original trust document?
If you can’t find the original document, revoking the original document and creating a new one will be necessary. Make sure you use the services of an experienced law office that offers full estate planning services.