Trusts have become an increasingly popular way to transfer assets between two parties. Regardless of the exact form that a trust takes or why someone creates one, they all rely on the services of a trustee to hold and distribute trust property. On the surface, this seems like a simple task. However, state law places heavy responsibilities on trustees to effectively oversee and protect trust property. This process is known as trust administration.
A Huntington Beach trust administration lawyer could provide more information about the duties and powers of trustees. If you have learned that you will be serving in this role, they could offer advice and help you perform your duties under law. An experienced trusts attorney could also take the lead in investigating the actions of trustees and seeking out appropriate legal remedies in the event of manipulative action.
The Legal Powers and Duties of Trustees
Trustees are vital players in the administration of trusts. In fact, every trust must have a trustee who is not also the sole beneficiary of the document. This trustee must act only in the interests of the trust and the beneficiaries, and state law places strict duties on trustees to behave in certain ways.
California Probate Code § 16000 says that trustees must act with the trust’s purpose at the forefront of their decisions. For example, if a trust exists to provide for the education of a child, the trustee must protect the assets and distribute them whenever the time comes to pay tuition. Another requirement is that trustees act with reasonable care, skill, and caution under CA Prob. Code § 16040. This simply means that the trustee must take the proper steps to fulfill the general purpose of the arrangement. If a person or organization is still unsure about these responsibilities, a skilled trust administration attorney in Huntington Beach could help all parties better understand a trustees’ legal obligations.
Investing and Evaluating the Actions of a Trustee
As mentioned above, the requirement to act in good faith and for the benefit of the beneficiaries is absolute. All people and organizations in this position need to make responsible decisions and care for the decedent’s property. However, this does not always happen. In some situations, a trustee might make mistakes that endanger or reduce the value of an asset.
Thankfully, a dedicated lawyer in Huntington Beach understands that this happens and can fight to protect the integrity of a trustee. During the trust administration process, they could defend a trustee from allegations of wrongdoing and demonstrate that the assets are carefully protected.
Similarly, our team members could take the lead to investigate the actions of trustees on behalf of beneficiaries and trust makers. This could result in a court terminating a negligent trustee’s role, holding them personally liable for any reduction in the value of trust property.
Call A Huntington Beach Trust Administration Attorney Today
It is impossible to understate the significance of a trustee during trust administration. In fact, these people and organizations have the sole authority to maintain trust property and distribute assets to beneficiaries at the appointed time. If you have recently received an appointment as a trustee or have concerns about another party’s administration, you should get in touch with our legal team as soon as possible.
Our Huntington Beach trust administration lawyers could explain the role of a trustee both under state law and as it applies to a specific trust. For trustees, they could explain the steps necessary to remain in compliance with the law. For others, they could evaluate a trustees’ actions to determine if they violated their legal duties. Contact us today to learn more.