Serving Clients in Fairfield, Hartford, Litchfield and New Haven Counties

How Private Is a Trust?

You may fall into the category of many people who want to ensure that someone handles their estates properly after their demise. Fortunately, you can utilize a number of estate planning tools to make sure that your assets go to the desired parties and that protective measures work to prevent unnecessary conflicts. You can even go so far as to keep information out of undesirable hands.

If you create a will, that document goes into the public record. As a result, anyone who wishes could obtain a copy of your will to read. If that does not seem appealing to you, you may find it helpful to know that trusts do not go on public record, and only certain people can obtain copies and read the terms.

Who has the privilege?

You, as the trustmaker, will obviously know the information that the trust contains. You may have concerns about who will become privy to that information after your demise. The following individuals may receive a copy of your trust:

  • The trustee and successor trustee: These individuals need a copy to understand their duties in association with the trust.
  • Trust beneficiaries: These parties will likely receive assets from the trust and can therefore receive a copy to understand what they may receive and when they will receive it.
  • Trust accountant: The accountant will need to understand the trust in order to ensure that someone handles any debts, taxes or other financial aspects properly.

The Internal Revenue Service and Connecticut state tax authorities may also receive copies of the trust if you have a taxable estate. Additionally, a personal representative for your estate may also end up with a copy in the event that some of your assets go through probate before passing into the trust by way of a pour-over will.

Can a trust become public record?

While a trust is not initially a part of the public record, it could go on record in the event that someone contests or challenges the terms of the trust. This type of situation commonly occurs, and you may want to prepare for such a possibility.

If you feel that a trust could help you express your final wishes, ensure your loved ones receive the desired assets and keep your estate affairs as private as possible, you may wish to consult with an estate planning attorney about this useful option.