Many BellesLink customers are real estate investors who like to use batch people search to find phone numbers for property owners. Many of the properties investors are searching are owned by a family trust. Family trusts can’t be searched through a batch process. So, how do you locate family trust owners using people searches? It’s a question we’re asked quite often.
What is a Family Trust?
A family trust is a legal document that gives a trustee, often a family member, the legal authority to make decisions about the distribution of income, property or other assets to identified family members. Often, a family member establishes a family trust to protect assets, create tax advantages and avoid probate actions. When it is a property is held in a trust, it is often because the previous owner is an elderly family member who has moved out of the house. The property is either still lived in by the family, or it has become a rental.
How do you Find a Trustee?
Because this type of trust is linked to a family, the trustee is often a relative of the previous owner. Quite often contacting someone in the immediate family can uncover the name and contact information of the trustee. This is where the associates and relatives data that is included in BellesLink people search results can be the key to finding the trustee.
A family trust is often used to avoid probate actions, so the trustee may also be the attorney who created the trust. If this is the case, contacting the attorney’s firm is your best next step.
How to Locate a Family Trust
Family trust can be searched using a stack of individual searches, including property search and people search. It can be challenging to find the trustee and it can take some detective work. The key is to use the last name of the family and the property address as your starting point for your search.
Family Trust Search Stack
- Premium property search: using the last name of trust and the property address
- People search: using the full name of the recent seller and the property address
- People Search: a relative of the recent seller
Family Trust Search Example
Here’s an example of how we do a trust search using BellesLink.
Search 1 – Premium Property Search
If you’re a real estate investor searching for a property owned by a trust, search on the family name and address of the property. In this example the trust name is Jackson Family Trust and the property address is 498 Norman Dr, Millsap, TX. This information is fictitious and for our example only.
Search 2 – Premium People Search
The property search result will tell you who is the most recent buyer and seller. The most recent buyer is likely to be the trust. Look for new name information in the recent seller information. This may include the first name of the previous owner, as it does in our example. Do a Premium People search using the recent seller’s full name and the property address.
Search 3 – Premium People Search
The people search results will include possible relatives. Choose one and do a Premium People search on them to find their contact information. This is a person who can potentially tell you who the trustee is.
Tip: Look at the birth dates of the possible relatives and choose someone who is both a first-degree relative and looks to be a child of the original owner.
How to Locate a Family Trust With No Family Name
In our example the name of the trust, Jackson Family Trust, included the family surname. But what if the trust name is something like East Bay Trust or Five Star Family Trust?
In this case your best approach is to do a reverse address search on the property address. This will return a list of people who are associated with that property.
Look in the property records section of the search results and see which person has a match for the property address you searched. If you find a match that means the person once owned the property and may know who the trustee is.
Also look in the address history of each person to see who has lived at that address. Residence at the property address will indicate a spouse or child of the original owner, either of whom may be able to put you in touch with the trustee.
A Little Detective Work is All it Takes
When you’re looking to make contact with the a family trust, you’ve got to start the last name of the trust and property address, The stack several searches to find a current phone number to call. Finding trustee of the property it takes a little bit of detective work. But it can be worth the effort.