Are family trusts public documents?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 27, 2010
A fellow caregiver asked...

Are family trusts available for other family members to view?


Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a Caring.com senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

People often set up trusts for the very reason that they want to keep the contents private.

In general, children and other family members have no right to information about a parent's trust. The trust is a private arrangement between the person who creates the trust -- called a trustor, settlor, or grantor -- and the trustee, who is often the same person who created the trust.

If the children are named as beneficiaries of a trust their parents create and are to inherit trust property when one or both of the parents die, then the brood will have certain rights to know the trust innards. But these rights kick in after the death of the parent, not before.

And people who have not been named to take trust property generally have no rights to see the specific trust provisions.