Trust Administration Lawyer in San Diego
A trust is an arrangement under which one person (the trustee) holds title to and manages property exclusively for the benefit of one or more other people (called beneficiaries). California trusts don’t last forever, and when the trust expires, any property still held in trust is distributed to the beneficiaries.
Trusts are a versatile estate planning tool that can serve multiple purposes, including:
- Avoiding probate;
- Minimizing exposure to the estate tax for large estates;
- Protecting property until the beneficiaries are old enough or mature enough to manage it themselves;
- Offering ongoing incentives for good behavior by trust beneficiaries; and
- Protecting property for those with special needs and providing funds for their care.
Types of California Trusts
In general, trusts in California can be divided into two categories, living trusts and irrevocable trusts.
- Living Trust: Living trusts are also called revocable trusts, because the person who creates a living trust (the grantor) can revoke it at any time. They are popular in California as an alternative to probate. Usually, the grantor serves as initial trustee under the living trust and is the sole beneficiary of the trust during his or her life.
- Irrevocable Trust: An irrevocable trust normally cannot be revoked once it is established. It is often used when a person is wealthy enough that the federal estate tax is a concern. Also, a living trust becomes irrevocable when the grantor dies.
What Does Trust Administration Involve?
The trustee of a trust takes on fiduciary duties to the trust’s beneficiaries. Those are the same type of high legal duties that a lawyer owes to his or her clients. In administering a trust, the trustee is required to:
- Administer the trust solely in the interest of the beneficiaries;
- Gather the trust property and preserve it;
- Make the trust property productive of income and distribute that income to the beneficiaries according to the trust agreement;
- If the trust has multiple beneficiaries, deal impartially with them, taking into account their different interests;
- Keep the trust property separate from the trustee’s own property; and
- Comply with various other duties under California law.
How a California Trust Administration Attorney Helps
Trustees’ duties are among the highest legal duties imposed by California law. Legacy, APC helps trustees understand and comply with those duties. We work closely with clients’ outside investment, tax, and other financial advisors to ensure trustees deal appropriately with trust property, and we offer guidance to our clients in distributing that property and income.
Contact Us to Learn More About Our Trust Administration Services
You can reach us by email or telephone at (619) 696-0778 to learn how we can serve you.