Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in California
When you have a living will and that person has passed away does the person named to distribute assets have a legal obligation to disclose all information to the other parties named in the living will? Should they have to give a copy of the will to thoses named in the will?
4 Answers from Attorneys
There is no such thing as a living will. There are wills. Then there are living trusts, there are springing powers of attorney, and there are durable healthcare powers of attorney, all of which are sometimes called "living wills" by people who think they know what they are talking about and don't. If you clarify what the instrument is you are talking about, we might be able to answer you.
If you mean a living trust, the answer is yes.
A living will is the term for a health care directive. A "living will" is how a person makes known his intentions regarding life prolonging medical treatments.
A will, is the the instrument used to explain how a person wants his property distributed after his or her death.
A living will is a document in which a person may express their wish to die a natural death, without the intervention of machines or artificial life support. Any person who is concerned that future illness or incapacity could make it impossible to express these desires should consider executing a living will. Because this is a private document, it is not generally disclosed to estate beneficiaries.
A living trust, on the other hand, is a mechanism used to transfer assets without a probate. When the creator(s) of the trust have passed away, there is a legal obligation to notify beneficiaries. An attorney can discuss what this notice should contain in order to follow California law.