I think someone changed my grandmother's trust -- what should I do?

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Question:

My grandmother made a revocable living trust before she died. I have a feeling someone changed the trust after her death. How can I get a copy of it?

Answer:

It may be tough to sneak a peek at the trust. Unlike wills, trusts are private documents that aren't filed with the probate court and do not become matters of public record. In fact, that is what attracts some people to making a living trust in the first place: They can live and die assured that the world will never see its contents.

There are a few exceptions, of course. For example, California and some other states give people who would inherit from a deceased person the right to see a trust. But in most places, you have no right to look at someone else's trust document unless you are named as a beneficiary of the trust.

Unless you have a good basis for a lawsuit alleging that you have been fraudulently cheated out of a rightful inheritance, you probably will not get to see the document. If you think you might have a case, talk with a local lawyer who has experience with lawsuits over estates and trusts.

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