Trustees have many important responsibilities when it comes to Los Angeles trust administration. Trustees are expected to make sure that all of the provisions included in the trust agreement have been complied with and all of the assets have been properly distributed based on those terms. In addition to distributing assets to beneficiaries, trustees are required to manage trust assets and maintain accurate records of every transaction that involves those assets. Since these responsibilities are crucial to Los Angeles Trust Administration, mistakes can be detrimental. Let our trust attorneys help you stay on the right track.
Carry Out Your Trustee Duties in a Neutral Manner
As the trustee, you are also a fiduciary which means you are expected to always look beyond your own interests and comply with the terms of the trust document in each decision you make. Unfortunately, this can be more difficult than you may expect. Remaining impartial can be especially challenging when you have a relationship with any of the beneficiaries of the trust, or if you have any emotional connection to the family in general. Regardless of your relationships, as a trustee, you are expected to remain a neutral party in every transaction affecting the trust.
Be Sure You Can Provide Complete and Accurate Reporting
One important obligation the trustee has during Los Angeles trust administration is providing a complete and accurate reporting of all transactions that relate to the trust property. This is another frequent basis for litigation in Los Angeles trust administration. Therefore, it is crucial that, as trustee, you fully understand each of your responsibilities and the potential risks for liability that you could face. Each decision you make and action you take relating to the trust property needs to be documented. This is especially true for the decisions you make to approve or deny distributions of the trust property. As long as you keep an accurate accounting of those transactions, you will be able to defend your decisions and protect yourself from personal liability in the event of a dispute of any kind.
Trustees Can Receive Compensation for Their Services
If you forget to discuss your fees up front, when that issue arises later it may be necessary for you to go to court to get the issue resolved. It is not uncommon for a trustee to serve for many years without being paid. Then, when the time and effort spent fulfilling the duties of a trustee have increased substantially, the trustee will then seek compensation. If compensation was not determined at the beginning, the beneficiaries may object to paying a fee now. That would mean court intervention would be necessary. Avoid this situation by determining trustee compensation up front.
Be sure not to violate your fiduciary duty
As trustee, your fiduciary duty is to take only those actions that are for the benefit of the trust and its beneficiaries. You must always be honest in all dealings related to the trust. Trustees are also required to make sure all of the actions they take comply with the regulations established to protect beneficiaries from improper investment choices made by trustees. Ultimately, a trustee is expected not to violate their duties, and if they do, they can be held liable for those violations.
It is Alright to Seek Advice From a Professional if Necessary
In the face of the significant responsibility placed upon a trustee, it is very common for trustees to need advice or assistance from a professional as they carry out certain aspects of their responsibilities. This is most likely the case when it comes to investing the trust property. If you do not have experience with investments then it would be wise to seek the advice of a professional. The management of investments is the probably the most frequently litigated issue in Los Angeles trust administration.
You May Need a Los Angeles Trusts Attorney
When mistakes are made sometimes the matter needs to be resolved in court. Trust litigation is a specialized area of the law. In many cases, trust litigation will require multiple petitions based on separate claims. For instance, petitions may be required regarding financial elder abuse, capacity issues, undue influence claims, creditor’s claims, and probate. In order to be successful in pursuing all of these legal claims, you need a Los Angeles trusts attorney.
Join us for a free seminar today! If you have questions regarding estate planning, trust contests, or any other trust administration issues, please contact the Schomer Law Group either online or by calling us in Los Angeles at (310) 337-7696, and in Orange County at (562) 346-3209.
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