Under California Law, your Living Trust is a private document. Unlike a Will, the Living Trust is not filed and made a public record on your death. No one has a right to see your personal private provisions except for very limited purposes. For example, the Assessor's Office may require a copy to ensure that a distribution is being transferred from a parent to a child to qualify for the exclusion of reassessment of property taxes. That is the extent of it --the Trust is not filed as a public record. When banks ask you for a copy of your Trust to arrange a Trust bank account you should give them your Certificate of Trust, not your entire Trust Agreement.
Effective January 1, 2017
In a new law to go into effect January 1, 2017, a Living Trust may be utilized to protect assets from Medi-Cal claims for individuals dying after that date. This is a revolutionary law that elevates the advantages of a Living Trust in California to a new high. Previously, a Living Trust provided no protection from such claims - beginning next year it will.
If you saw 60 Minutes on CBS Sunday night you had to be astounded by the absolute greed and thievery of life insurance companies. Many of them, mostly all of the large companies, are being sued in a class action for failing to pay death proceeds to deserving beneficiaries. Roughly $7.5 billion have been withheld by these large companies over the years although the companies were aware of the insured's death. All insurance companies have means to accumulate decedents' names, from a death role, which is checked daily through their database. A spokesman for the insurance companies stated that it as the responsibility of the beneficiary to make a claim. If no claim is made, the company basically continues to use the funds gained through premiums and further invest the proceeds and reap further dividend or interest benefits, as its own. It was also indicated that the companies would continue to use cash value in the policies to pay premiums even after knowing of the death of the insured. Unbelievable! If the proper authorities can't identify this within the definition of criminal felony theft, I don't know how it could be further defined.
New California Law: Transfer on Death (TOD) Deed
Why Living Trusts are Failing in California (Part 1)
Living Trust and Estate Planning Hypothets Based on Actual Family Issues
Why Estate Planning With A Living Trust Is Critical For Minor Children
Elder Law Issues
Living Trust Contests in California