What Role Do Trustees Play in the Estate Planning Process in California?

naming trustees

When planning your estate, you may know what plan you want to create. However, when drafting your estate plan you may not know how to respond when asked who you would like your trustee to be. If you’re ready to create a trust, ensuring you have someone to oversee and manage the assets is crucial. It’s necessary to have a Woodland Hills trust attorney there to guide you through the process of creating a trust. Similarly, the type of trust you form will change the responsibilities and duties of your trustees, so ensuring you have legal guidance is crucial.

What Are the Responsibilities of Trustees?

Trustees play a significant role in carrying out and managing trusts set up by the grantor, or person who creates the trust.

For example, a trustee’s primary responsibility is keeping track of the assets in the trust, like keeping up and maintaining a property. Similarly, they are responsible for distributing assets in the trust to beneficiaries when the stipulations are met. For example, if the trust dictates that the grantor’s grandchildren will receive stock upon their college graduation, it is up to the grantor to ensure the beneficiaries receive that stock after they earn their college degree.

In addition to managing the assets, they must also communicate with the beneficiaries, depending on the type of trust set up.

How Should You Choose One?

A few rules and regulations surround who you can choose to be the trustee for your estate. For example, they must be a legal adult, a US citizen, and of sound mind. This gives you plenty of options to choose from, but these are some of the most common options:

  • Many choose family or friends to manage an estate, as a loyal and dependable friend, cousin, or adult child can act as your trustee
  • A financial institution is a popular option as they traditionally have departments that can manage your trust. This is especially beneficial if your trust is extensive and complex, as they have the means to handle such a task.
  • If you create a revocable living trust, you can choose to execute the trust yourself, which grants you greater control over your assets. However, you should name a successor, should you become incapacitated or pass away.

Can an Attorney Help?

If your trust is not complex, and you don’t feel comfortable letting your friends or family serve as the trustee, an attorney can help. Many attorneys offer estate administration options, allowing you to avoid any conflicts of interest that could arise due to naming those with whom you have a personal relationship as a trustee.

When you’re ready to create a trust and appoint someone to manage your assets according to your wishes, the Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman are here to help. Our firm has experience in all facets of estate planning, from naming trustees to acting as estate administrators. Contact us today to learn how we can help you secure peace of mind for your future.

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