Trust administration is the process when the settlor (creator) of the trust either becomes incapacitated or passes away. Upon either of these events, it becomes the job of the successor trustee to administer the trust for the benefit of the settlor or the trust’s beneficiaries. The administration of the trust is critically important work. Our team of expert, compassionate and attentive attorneys and legal assistants provide the services you need to successfully administer the trust in accordance with the wishes of the settlor, trust and estate law, and tax law. Our extensive background in trust and estate litigation provides clients with the specialized knowledge needed to prevent litigation or disputes before they occur.
In addition to our expert legal services, we are mindful of the fact that our services are occurring during a very difficult time. A myriad of emotions are involved, especially if the trustee is a family member or a friend. Whatever your needs are, we strive to create a productive rapport in order to work together and create success.
The majority of trustees in California are non-professional trustees who are a surviving spouse, a child, a grandchild, a close friend, or a non-professional trusted advisor (such as an attorney or accountant). In such instances, the non-professional trustee should, and often does, hire an attorney. While it is common for the non-professional trustee to hire the attorney who drafted the document, that is not required. What is required is to hire a trust and estate attorney who can work collaboratively with the non-professional trustee, who can provide the right amount of guidance and instruction to stay on top of all tasks and deadlines, and can eliminate legal liability exposure either to the beneficiaries or third parties.
It is critical to know that trust administration for married couples begins upon the death of the first spouse, not at the death of the second spouse. When the trust is not properly administered upon the death of the first spouse, problems arise and the litigation risk increases substantially.