Credit check on deceased father

by Melanie B.
(Galveston, Tx)

Can I legally run a credit check on my deceased father? Also, my deceased Grandfather's trust states that if my father has passed then my brother and I are to get his portion of the trust money. After my father passed last year we did not open an estate for him (my father). Do we have to open an estate for my father in order to get the money from the trust? Thank you so much for your help!

Reply from

If you are administering your father's estate, you can order his credit reports to determine his final debts. The credit reporting agencies will all require you put your request in writing and include proof that you are handling his estate. (Generally that means they want to see the letters of testamentary.)

As for your questions related to the death of your father and your grandfather's trust, we recommend that you talk with an estate planning attorney in your area because we am not an attorney. Normally however, when someone dies, their estate -- everything they own -- goes through a process called "probate." We assume you may be referring to that process when you write that "you did not open an estate for him (my father)." If your father died without owning any assets and did not owe any debt either, then it may not be necessary to initiate the probate process. However, that is an issue you should discuss with an estate planning attorney.

Also, the individual or financial institution named in your grandfather's trust agreement as his trustee is responsible for distributing your grandfather's assets according to the directions in that document and so the trust provides you with another reason to schedule an appointment with an attorney. The attorney can help get your grandfather's wishes carried out and can answer your question regarding whether your father's estate must be probated before you can receive the trust assets you are entitled to.

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