Estate Planning in California: What is a Trustee?

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If you are considering estate planning in California you likely have a lot of questions. This is normal, you should have a lot of questions. Estate planning in California does not have to be stressful or worrisome. With the assistance of a knowledgeable and experienced estate planning attorney in California, you can put an estate plan together that properly reflects your concerns and intentions. If you have questions about estate planning in California you should contact an experienced California estate planning attorney.

A trustee is a person that holds legal title to property that belongs to a trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries of the trust. When a person settles a revocable living trust, he or she typically appoints himself or herself as the trustee. When the trust is settled by a married couple, both spouses typically serve as joint trustees. The settlor(s) generally nominate successor trustees to serve should he/she/they become incapacitated or pass away. Although these are the typical circumstances, one may generally set up a trust however one wants as long as it complies with the law in the jurisdiction of the trust.

A trustee manages the property owned by the trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries. The trustee must act in accordance with the law and the terms of the trust. The trustee is placed in a fiduciary role. A well written trust clearly defines the powers, duties, and responsibilities of the trustee. When a trust in California is silent on a matter, the California Probate Code generally controls the issue. Generally, the trustee’s administration of the trust is not court supervised, although trustees have a duty to account to the beneficiaries. When and if an issue arises with a trust under the jurisdiction of the laws of California, the Probate court generally has jurisdiction in California estate planning matters.

If you have further questions about estate planning in California, what a trustee is, or what a trustee’s duties are, it is best to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced probate or estate planning attorney that is licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction.

Call our attorneys for estate planning in California in our San Jose office at 408-290-7210 or our Danville office at 925-233-4399 or contact Temmerman, Cilley & Kohlmann, LLP online today.