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Who is Entitled to Receive Official Notices From a Trust?


Official statutory notifications must be served (in most cases, by mail or registered mail) on the heirs of the deceased settlor of a trust when the settlor’s living trust becomes irrevocable (a) the death of a settlor of the trust or (b) the trust becoming irrevocable, within one year of the settlor’s death, due to the express provisions of the trust.

When a living trust becomes irrevocable automatically on the death of the settlor, one notice generally is sufficient (i.e., the trustee does not need to send one notice of the settlor’s death and a second one about the trust becoming irrevocable).

In addition, heirs are entitled to receive any other notices that may be required by law, based on actual facts and circumstances.



All of the named or identifiable beneficiaries of a trust generally have a legal right to receive notice:

  • When a living trust becomes irrevocable, either (a) automatically, on the the death of the settlor or (b) the trust becomes irrevocable, within one year of the settlor’s death, due to the express provisions of the trust;
  • The trustee of the trust changes at some point after the trust becomes irrevocable;
  • An irrevocable power of appointment held by the settlor becomes effective or lapses due to the settlor’s death; and/or
  • In any other circumstances required by law.


Generally, the California Attorney General is entitled to receive notices when the trust is a charitable trust of a nature that is subject to supervision by the AG. However, the kind of revocable trusts most California residents use as estate planning instruments are not charitable trusts, and not subject to this rule.

The trustee of a revocable trust may serve any other person or entity the trustee wishes to serve within notice (at the trustee’s discretion); however, the trustee does not commit malpractice or a breach of duty either by serving or deciding not to serve any person or entity that is not entitled to notice by law.


The trustee of a trust is not subject to liability for failing to give notice–even statutory notices–to persons or entities that (a) the trustee cannot find (after a reasonably diligent search) or (b) the trustee does not know exist or (reasonably) does not know are entitled to notice. As with many other legal tests, the questions here are whether the trustee acted diligently and with reasonable care, and what the trustee “knew or should have known.”

If you believe you were entitled to notice from a trust, but did not receive it, consult an attorney promptly for an evaluation of your legal rights and potential claims.

If you are the trustee of a trust, and not sure whether or to whom you should give notice, consult an attorney promptly for a consultation about your duties and obligations.


Disclaimer: THIS ARTICLE IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY, AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE OR CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE AUTHOR OR ROSS LAW AND ANY PERSON. Your legal rights and experiences may vary. Never use an online article (including this one) to evaluate your legal rights or claims. Consult an experienced attorney promptly to obtain a personalized evaluation of your claims, potential damages, and the various legal rights and options available to you.

You may lose or compromise your rights if you delay in consulting legal counsel. Most legal claims (and defenses), as well as legal and court procedures, are complicated and fact-dependent. If you believe you have a claim against someone who injured you, a lawyer who represented you in a previous lawsuit, or any other legal claim, consult an experienced lawyer immediately for an evaluation of your individual rights and claims.

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