Trusts are some of the most powerful tools in the estate planner’s toolbox. When properly designed and funded, they can accomplish a wide range of goals. Unfortunately, many people believe that once they have created a trust it will simply take effect “automatically” when the time comes. Not so. For a trust to accomplish its goals, the trust must be properly administered.
At the Law Offices of Esther Hopkins, P.C., the majority of our trust administration clients are also our estate planning clients. We do, however, administer trusts on behalf of people who had them drafted by other law firms. In both situations, our goal is to make the administration process as convenient and stress-free as possible.
A number of steps must be taken to administer a trust. These include filing the decedent’s Will with the California probate court, as well as tax filings with the California Franchise Tax Board and the Internal Revenue Service. In addition, “interested parties” must be notified. Other duties can include settling creditor claims, paying the decedent’s final expenses, opening bank accounts, obtaining a new tax ID number, arranging for the sale of assets, and more. Proper accounting methods must be maintained throughout the entire process and an accurate summary provided to beneficiaries.
Failing to administer a trust properly can have serious financial and legal consequences for the trustee. Therefore, the decision to serve as trustee should not be made taken lightly. If you have been asked to serve as trustee, we can explain the process and potential risks in clear, easy-to-understand language. As Westlake Village trust administration attorneys, we can also help you select the appropriate trustee if you decide not to accept this role yourself, and guide your chosen trustee every step of the way.
Despite your best intentions, disputes still may arise over the administration, management, accounting and/or validity of a trust. At the Law Offices of Esther Hopkins, P.C., our attorneys are uniquely qualified to represent you in your trust dispute. Our attorneys have extensive experience in both trust and estates law and litigation.
We represent clients in a variety of trust actions, including:
• Trust contests
• Breaches of fiduciary duties
• Trust modifications
• Beneficiary claims
• Trust accountings
• Misappropriation and mismanagement of trust assets
• Claims of fraud, duress, undue influence, coercion and lack of capacity
We understand what you are going through during this difficult time. Contact us at your earliest convenience for a personal meeting.