Trust Administration

My father died and everyone in the family wants to take his belongings.

My friend died with a trust and named me as successor trustee. What is my next step? What duties do I have to her family and those named in the trust?

My mother died and now her creditors are calling me. What do I do?

These are the situations the Law Offices of Jennifer Medeiros will guide you through. The terminology of a trust can be confusing and the duties you just inherited as trustee can be overwhelming.

You CAN do this, with our help. Call The Law Offices of Jennifer Medeiros for a free consultation.

A trust instrument means a document executed by a settlor (this is the person who creates or contributes property to the trust), which contains the terms of a trust. One of the most common types of trust – a revocable trust, is typically a trust created by the settlor and controlled by the settlor during his or her lifetime to manage his or her own assets. On the death of the settlor, the trust becomes irrevocable and the trust instrument provides the instructions for how the assets are to be managed by the trustee after the settlor’s death. These trusts are popular for both tax purposes and to avoid probate. It is common for the settlor to name a family member as the successor trustee to the trust. Most of time, the named successor trustee has no specialized knowledge regarding trusts. They are unaware of the duties and obligations that come with accepting the role as successor trustee. The Law Offices of Jennifer Medeiros will fulfill your duties as trustee by handling the necessary paperwork and giving the proper notices as required by law and as outlined by the terms of the trust.

Qualified beneficiaries of a trust are entitled to a copy of the trust, as well as other information relating to the trust administration. Trust provisions can be complicated, causing the trustee difficulty in ascertaining the division of assets or determining the difference between principal and income.

A nominated successor trustee is not obligated to become the trustee. They can decide whether to accept the trusteeship or decline. A trustee is entitled to representation by an attorney with respect to the administration of the trust. The trustee’s attorney is entitled to reasonable compensation for those legal services, to be paid from the assets in the trust. The trustee is also entitled to compensation that is reasonable under the circumstances if allowed by the trust.

Depending on the terms of the trust, the administration of the trust can range from straightforward to a detailed, complicated process. The trustee must have a suitable grasp on his or her duties to ensure compliance with the terms of the trust and California statutes. When handled appropriately, the administration of a trust is usually much easier, less time-consuming, and less expensive than probate administration. However, for an unwary trustee, the trust administration process can be complex and overwhelming.

Every trust is different, depending upon these factors (1) the terms and conditions set forth in the trust agreement, (2) the size, nature, and location of the trust estate, (3) the number and temperament of the beneficiaries, (4) the type of assets held in trust, and (5) whether the trust owns an ongoing business. Every trustee should be aware that if the assets of the trust are administered improperly or distributed incorrectly, the trustee could be held personally liable for the consequences. Every trustee should retain a qualified lawyer to guide the trustee through the trust administration process.

If you are named as a successor trustee you don’t have to become an expert. You don’t have to research the California Probate Code. You don’t have to read every book on trust administration and deal with anxious beneficiaries.

You just need to call The Law Offices of Jennifer Medeiros.

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