What is a 120-day Trust Letter and what do I do if I receive one?
A 120-day Trust Letter (AKA Notification by Trustee pursuant to Probate Code 16061.7) is a document that is issued by a trustee to notify all beneficiaries of the trust and any other heirs of the deceased Settlor(s) that the trust is now irrevocable and of their right to file a claim against the trust within 120 days of the date of the notification letter. This document is important because it provides the potential claimants with a formal notification of their right to file a claim against the trust and informs them of the timeframe in which they must do so in order to preserve their claim. The letter should be sent to those who may have an interest in or claim against the trust and provides a detailed explanation of the trust and the rights of the potential claimants. By issuing this document, the trustee is fulfilling their legal obligation to notify any potential claimants of their rights to file a claim against the trust and limiting the time period in which claims may be made.
What Are trust notification requirements?
Notifying trust beneficiaries after a person has passed away is a necessary part of the California trust administration process. The California Probate Code requires that certain individuals be notified of the trust, including the beneficiaries and other interested parties. The trustee has a duty to notify the beneficiaries of the trust within 60 days of learning of the death of the trustor.
When notifying the beneficiaries, the trustee must provide them with certain documents and information. This includes a copy of the trust, that the trust has become irrevocable as a result of the death of the settlors, the date the trust was created, the names and addresses of the beneficiaries, the name and address of the trustee, and a copy of the death certificate.
The trustee must also provide the beneficiaries with information regarding timeframe to challenge any provision of the trust and that if a beneficiary fails to bring a claim within that timeframe, they will lose their opportunity to contest the trust. It is important for beneficiaries to understand their rights and obligations under the trust. The trustee should also provide the beneficiaries with any other information that is necessary for them to understand the terms of the trust.
By providing the beneficiaries with the necessary information and documents, the trustee is fulfilling their obligation to notify the beneficiaries of the trust. This is an important part of the trust administration process because it starts the countdown on the window during which a beneficiary can challenge a provision of the trust. This helps ensure that the trust may be administered properly and that the beneficiaries' rights are respected.
Here's what to do if you receive a 120-day Trust Letter
1- Read the letter carefully and be sure to note any specific instructions or deadlines set out in the letter.
Reading a 120-day trust letter carefully is important to make sure you understand the terms and conditions of the trust. Start by reading the document in its entirety, taking
your time to make sure you understand what is being stated. Pay close attention to the language used, including any legal terms, and take notes if necessary. Make sure to read all of the instructions and understand what action is required of you. Be sure to ask questions to make sure you understand the expectations of the trust. Finally, be sure to review the trust letter at least twice to make sure you don't miss anything important. Taking the time to read and understand the trust letter will help ensure that you are able to fulfill your rights as a beneficiary of the trust or an heir of the settlors.
2- Contact the Trustee promptly to ask any questions or to request additional information.
When contacting a trustee after receiving a 120-day trust letter, it is important to be courteous and professional. Begin by introducing yourself and explaining why you are getting in touch. Make sure to include the details of the trust letter you received and any other pertinent information you believe may be helpful. Express your appreciation for their time and attention and provide any resources or documents they may need.
3- Keep copies of all documents and communications related to the Trust Letter, including any responses you make, for your records.
Staying organized and keeping records of responses when communicating with a trustee after receiving a 120-day trust letter is essential to ensure that your trust is handled
properly and efficiently. To stay organized, create a system that works best for you. You can use a physical filing system, digital folders, or a combination of both. Additionally, it is important to keep a log of all communications sent to and received from the trustee. This log should include the date the communication was sent or received, the type of communication, and the contents of the communication. Additionally, you should make sure to save all emails, letters, and other documents that you have exchanged with the trustee. Keeping records of your conversations will help you remain organized and ensure that the trustee is meeting their obligations and that you are meeting yours.
4- Hire a lawyer
It is always a good idea to consult a lawyer immediately when you receive a 120-day trust letter. It is important to understand the language and implications of this document and the accompanying trust documents, as they can have a significant impact on your financial future. A lawyer can help you understand the legal implications of the trust and provide assistance in determining the best course of action for you.
In addition to understanding the terms of the trust letter, a lawyer can also help you to negotiate better terms or to suggest alternative solutions. Furthermore, a lawyer can help you to protect your rights in the event of a dispute or disagreement. Ultimately, hiring a lawyer after receiving a 120-day trust letter can provide you with the protection and guidance you need to navigate the legal complexities of the agreement.
If you have recently received a 120-day trust letter, don't hesitate to contact us today for a free consultation to ensure you understand your rights, and that you receive all of what you are entitled to.