Trust Administration in CA
Obtain Counsel from Our Orange County Trust Lawyer
Managing a trust is an important responsibility and must be done according to law. If you have been given this responsibility, we can help minimize any stress and can also defend you in court should you be involved in litigation or IRS investigations. P. Arnsen Blakely is a seasoned seasoned attorney serving Orange County, California for over forty years. We urge you to contact an
Orange county trust attorney for assistance.
If you have been named a trustee of an estate, then someone has put a significant amount of trust and faith in you. As a trustee, it is your job to manage the trust property according to the terms of the trust and for the benefit of the beneficiaries of the trust. This is a big job to take on and one that must be executed responsibly.
Because every family is different and each estate is unique, every trust is different as well. While some trusts hold a small amount of property, others can hold millions of dollars' worth of assets and property and support the beneficiaries for years to come. It is not uncommon for certain trusts to become the contentious topic of litigation when one or more beneficiaries have disagreements with how the trustee is administering the trust, and such disputes are especially common when a disgruntled heir is unhappy with the testor's estate plan.
As a trustee, the amount of work you have to look forward to depends upon a variety of factors including the number of beneficiaries, the type of trust, the amount of property in the trust and the number of creditor claims that are against the estate. In any case, it will be your obligation and responsibility to direct and coordinate all the activities associated with administering the trust according to the trustor's wishes. This includes placing assets into the trust account, negotiating with public agencies such as the Social Security Administration in an effort to place the assets into the trust account, paying off debts belonging to the trust, paying taxes and most importantly, administering the property strictly for the benefit of the beneficiaries.
When you are named trustee, your first task is to read the instructions given to you by the grantor of the trust. Your responsibility is to faithfully carry out these instructions. In this capacity you are a fiduciary, which means you have the highest duty of care regarding the trust. Your breach of fiduciary duty can lead to court action and even criminal charges.
In fulfilling your fiduciary obligations, you have certain responsibilities:
- Keep all funds in a separate, clearly marked trust account. It is violation of the law to commingle your own funds with those of the trust. It is a criminal offense to dip into the trust funds for a personal loan.
- Avoid Conflict of Interest: It would be improper to invest the funds in business in which you have interest.
- Manage the funds: It is your duty to invest the funds to gain at least some return. It is best to invest conservatively. High risk investments are improper.
- Keep Records: You need to be able to give an accounting if a beneficiary or court requests.
- Pay Taxes: You must pay taxes on any trust income.
- Take Care of the Beneficiaries: This is your most important duty. However do not violate the trust instructions in this regard.
Reliable Legal Representation
We would be pleased to meet with you and discuss your trust. An Orange County estate planning attorney will review the trust document and advise you as to your responsibilities and answer any
questions about trusts. If you are a trust beneficiary, we are available to counsel you of your rights and take action on your behalf.