Should a Trustee Hire an Attorney?
Trusts are instruments for reducing estate taxes and avoiding probate. As a trustee, you have your work cut out for you. You have been given the responsibility of managing and distributing their assets upon their death or incapacitation. Call Hess-Verdon’s trust attorney for assistance in trust administration.
Practice Area: Trust Administration
California Counties: Orange County, Los Angeles
Serving California Residents: Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Costa Mesa, Mission Viejo, Fountain Valley, San Juan Capistrano, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Yorba Linda, San Clemente, Laguna Hills, Coto De Caza, Tustin, Seal Beach, Westminster, Garden Grove, Santa Ana, Anaheim, Stanton, Rancho Santa Margarita, Rancho Mission Viejo, Placentia, Orange, Villa Park and surrounding cities.
Why Trustees Should Hire an Attorney
HESS-VERDON – #1 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TRUST & ESTATE LAW FIRM
1.) Fulfill fiduciary duty
People who serve as trustees manage assets on behalf of others. They must execute Trust documents following the grantor’s wishes. An estate lawyer can help a trustee (whether a professional or an individual) handle every aspect of trust administration.
2.) Execute the trust as directed
If you serve as a trustee, you need to make sure the trust is implemented per its terms. This is why it is so important to speak with a trust lawyer, if possible, to clear all legal obstacles from your path.
3.) Handle trust litigation
Trusts and trustees may face many disputes and lawsuits from parties such as beneficiaries, creditors, and even the IRS. California trust litigation procedures are governed by the Probate Code. A trust attorney can help to mount the proper defenses to protect the trust and save you from liabilities.
4.) Prevent conflict of interest
It is your responsibility as a trustee to execute the trust correctly. A trustee attorney can help to define your duties and prerogatives and provide solutions to legal dilemmas, including conflict of interest or attempts of influence from beneficiaries.
5.) Streamline distributions
Trustees are responsible for ensuring the trust’s beneficiaries get the assets in the trust per the grantor’s wishes. As a trustee, you have a legal obligation to act in the beneficiaries’ best interest, especially in distributions. A trust attorney can facilitate and speed up the process by resolving all trust disputes that arise.
6.) Protect trust assets and investments
Trustees should exercise caution when handling or investing trust assets. A few mishaps can lead to the termination of the trust by the courts or the erosion of its asset protection and tax reduction benefits. Working with a law firm that has expertise in the areas of Trust and Estates can reduce protracted litigation that arises during the trust administration process.
7.) Fulfilling legal requirements
The law is clear. Trustees must keep accounts and records with accuracy. You must also keep track of the trust’s earnings, distributions, and expenditures. At least once a year, or whenever specified by the trust, it is necessary to report this information to the beneficiaries. Also, you should ensure that you separate trust assets from private assets. An experienced attorney can explain what is required of you for trust law compliance and to forestall lawsuits from beneficiaries.
8.) Filing taxes
It is your responsibility to file a tax return every year for the trust. That’s why accuracy in accounting is crucial when managing a trust. An attorney whose expertise in trust administration can help you prepare the trust accounting and coordinate the trust tax obligation if any.
9.) Reasonable Compensation
Having to act as a trustee can be pretty difficult. Trustees should receive reasonable compensation, therefore, for their work in administering the trust. For guidelines on your compensation, a trust administration lawyer can help you review the relevant state laws and the provisions of the trust documents to make sure your compensation is reasonable.
10.) Certificate of trust
Consult a trust administration attorney before you take the mantle. If you have questions about the type of trust and your duties and provisions, the attorney can answer them. As an added service, they can help you prepare a trust certificate, a document proving you have the legal right to manage the trust.
11.) Take care of dependents and minors.
If there are minor children or other dependents, a trust lawyer can help ensure they are properly cared for according to the trustor’s terms.
12.) Manage finances
Because you are now in charge of the trust’s finances, you must know what assets it holds. Learn where each asset is located and what its value is. It is also essential to know when to pay and when not to pay creditors and what income and expenses the assets generate. A trust attorney can help you fulfill the trust’s tax obligations and creditor obligations.
13.) Notify banks that you are the trustee
Obtain authorization from the attorney to act on behalf of the trustor from financial institutions holding trustor’s assets by notifying them of your appointment as trustee.
Create a professional trust management team
If managing the grantor’s account is difficult for you as an individual, assembling a dedicated team can help. If you need assistance navigating the trust administration process, a trust administration attorney can be of great help. Typically, they have connections with accountants, financial advisors, and real estate experts who can help in trust administration if needed. Contact Hess-Verdon to work with an honest, reputable trust lawyer in California. Call us at (949) 706-7300.
Trustee Attorneys Near Me
Hess-Verdon is in Newport Beach. We have 30 years’ experience in estate planning law. We have helped many clients protect their estate, grow their estate, and pass it down to their loved ones through various legal instruments.
Our estate lawyers can help you administer or contest a trust or will. We also have expertise in business law and elder abuse law. Expect personalized services that put you in control. Request a no-obligation case assessment
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Are you looking for a trust administration in the Newport Beach area? When it comes to the practice of Trust and estates, it can be difficult finding an attorney that’s experienced in handling your specific issues.
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Trust administration manages the assets in a trust according to the Trust’s terms to benefit the heirs and beneficiaries following the grantor’s death. Trust administration is a multi-step process that involves mountainous paperwork and dealings with courts. Working with a trust attorney can be instrumental in streamlining the whole process.
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