Are Living Trusts Public or Private Records?

Probate is Public and Living Trusts are Private

One common question our law office receives is, “Is a living trust a public or private record in California?” Most people assume they are public records similar to a will and that they must be recorded with the courts.

However, that statement is NOT True! Living Trusts are NOT required to be public records in California and are in fact designed to be private documents meant for the eyes of family members and beneficiaries only. Probate is a public process and can bring on scrutiny for high profile cases (think celebrity deaths), but one of the biggest benefits of drafting a living trust is to ensure that the matters of your estate can be kept private.

Once you create a living trust, it needs to be funded in order to work. Think of the living trust as a fireproof safe. In order for a safe to be effective, you must place items inside so they can be protected. After you have created a trust, you must change the title on all your assets and accounts to the name of your trust—which includes real estate, bank accounts, and other property.

In short, your property will be owned by the living trust and outside people can find that information about since titles are public records, but they cannot look anything further into your trust and how those assets are set to be distributed upon your passing.

Avoid Probate, Protect Your Estate and Start a Living Trust Today!

For more information about living trusts in California contact Elder Law Services at (800) 403-6078 for a FREE consultation with an expert estate planning attorney. We look forward to working with you.

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Related Questions
  • Is a Living Trust public in California?
  • Who Gets to See a Trust After the Trustee Dies?
  • Where Are Last Wills and Trusts Recorded?
  • How do I get a copy of a Living Trust?
  • How can I find out if a Trust exists?
  • What to do if the original Trust document is lost?
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