Does trust override will and is there a way to find out who the trustee is?

by Terry Tyler
(Raleigh, NC )

My wife is a named beneficiary in her grandmothers will. Her grandmother had a living trust that contained most of the assets. Her mother and uncle were named dual executors of the will. It is not clear they have seen the terms of the trust.

So there are two questions: 1. Do the terms of a trust over-ride any property named to beneficiaries in a will and 2. Is there a way to find out who the trustee is and see the terms of the trust.

It is not clear that anyone has seen the terms of the trust. They had a copy of a will accepted into probate.

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Dec 23, 2010
Trust Funding and Finding the Trustee
by: Mo

Hi Terry.

First, each state has different trust laws so it will depend on the law of the state the trust is in. But, generally, it all depends on whether title to the property has transferred to the trust. This is known as "funding" the trust. You can find out more about that at funding a living trust.

The terms of the trust should override the terms of the will -- with regard to property that is titled in the name of the trust. A trust is effective only for property that it owns. Once property is "owned" by the trust, then the person's will can't control its disposition.

As to your second question, that one is tougher. It can be hard to find out who the trustee of a trust is. One of the best ways is if you know what property or assets are owned by the trust, then you can search public records (for instance property deeds) and they will often identify the trust and trustee.

Good luck!


Jul 14, 2013
living trust vs will
by: Al

attorney wrote grandmothers living trust, listing me as the person to own and execute the trust of her 2 properties. Can a living will she created by her neice override the trust?

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