Tim McCrone, a CPA in Los Altos, asked me yesterday whether or not beneficiaries of a trust are required to be given notice. Like many answers Lawyers give, it depends.
California Probate Code Section 16061.7 requires the Trustee of any Trust to provide notice to the beneficiaries (and heirs) on the occurance of either of two events:
1. The Trust becomes Irrevocable.
2. There is a change of Trustee.
This means that you do not have to provide anyone notice if your trust is still revocable. But if you die, your trustee will have to notice the current and remainder beneficiaries.
Notice is required to your heirs (i.e. next of kin) so that someone doesn't fraudulently create a trust for you leaving all of your property to them without your children knowing what happened to it.
There are a couple of states, however, that do not require notice like California does. A few require no notice to beneficiaries at all. If you have a client that wants absolute secrecy, they can find it.