Trust Administration Lawyer in CA
If you have been named as the trustee for the trust of a family member or friend, that is a sign of great respect. You’ve been given a significant responsibility, but they would not have named you to this position if they didn’t think you were up to the task.
If you haven’t served in this role before, or if you don’t have time to fulfill all of the duties, you should ask a trust administration lawyer for assistance. California laws impose significant obligations on trustees during the trust administration process, and a legal advisor can ensure that you meet all of these requirements.
If you are the beneficiary of a trust and don’t think your trustee is handling matters properly, a trust administration lawyer will review the situation and determine whether you need to act to enforce your rights and protect the property that is due to you through the trust.
Basic Information About California Trusts
Trusts confuse many people, and that’s understandable because trusts are an artificial legal creation. A trust is an arrangement set up to hold property. The person who creates the trust and puts property into the trust is often called the grantor. Property in the trust is managed by the trustee and ultimately distributed to the beneficiary.
Trusts can be revocable, which means they can be easily changed or canceled. This type of trust is often used to avoid probate.
Trusts used for other purposes, such as to reduce tax liability, establish eligibility for Medi-Cal, or provide for someone with special needs, must be set up as irrevocable trusts. Once the grantor transfers property into an irrevocable trust, the grantor no longer controls or uses that property. The person named as trustee manages the property, but they have an obligation to take care of the property for the beneficiary.
For instance, if you have a sibling with special needs, your parents might set up a special needs trust and name you as the trustee. You would have the obligation to administer the trust in a way that does not waste the assets, and you would need to distribute the funds to your sibling periodically in a way that follows the legal requirements for special needs trusts and that also matches the directions in the document setting up the trust. It can be very helpful to have guidance from a trust administration attorney, at least to get started.
Revocable Living Trusts
Instead of leaving property to family members in their will, many people set up revocable living trusts to hold their property. With this type of trust, they are not only the grantor of the trust, but they also serve as their own trustee and beneficiary.
What does this mean? It means they can use their property just the same way as before they created the trust.
However, when they pass away, control of the assets goes to a successor trustee, and that successor trustee takes care of final bills and other issues, and then distributes the trust assets to the beneficiaries. The process of trust administration in this case is much easier than estate administration where you need to comply with the rules of the formal probate process.
Get Advice and Assistance with Administration of All Types of Trusts in California
Trusts can be simple or complex, and that means the process of trust administration varies tremendously. If you need help understanding your duties as a trustee or you would like assistance with handling regular or one-time obligations, I would be happy to help. I can get you set up to manage tasks on your own in compliance with all state and federal laws, or I can manage the trust on your behalf.
If you have questions or concerns about trust administration, or if you want to find out whether a trustee is fulfilling a duty they owe to you as a beneficiary, please schedule a time to talk.