Trusts Lawyers in California Protecting Your Assets
Losing a loved one is always difficult, but when you have to deal with the death of a family member who was also your breadwinner, the challenge can be overwhelming. If you are struggling to manage life after their death, you may also struggle to find the energy to deal with your family’s estate, as well. If you have a trust, we can assist you in administering a trust. If you don’t have a trust, you should consider getting one as part of your estate plan.
Trusts are legal agreements that allow someone to manage your assets in the event that you are unable to do so yourself. A trust can provide much-needed financial stability for families dealing with the loss of a loved one, and can help ensure that your loved ones are taken care of even after you’re gone.
If you are considering setting up a trust, it is important to work with an experienced California trust attorney who can help you create a plan that meets your specific needs. At Cava and Faulkner, we understand the challenges families face when dealing with the death of a loved one, and we are here to help. Contact us today to learn more about our trusts services. Trying to handle the technical details during a time of loss can be a challenge. We are here to help.
We want to help you through this process and take as much off your hands when it comes to locating assets, paying bills, and making sure your loved one’s assets get to the right people without court or conflict.
If your loved one created a trust prior to their passing and all of his or her assets are in trust or named the trust properly as the beneficiary, then the good news is that we can begin the estate administration process completely outside of probate court.
Whether you need help setting up a trust or administering one, the experienced California trust lawyers at Cava and Faulkner can help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
How Can a Trust Attorney Help?
Thank you for being here. I know you have a lot of options when it comes to choosing the right attorney for you. We are here to support you however we can during any time of burden or loss.
We work closely with the deceased’s family members, beneficiaries, and trusted advisors to ensure the deceased’s trust assets are inventoried, debts are paid and the assets are distributed to the named trust beneficiaries.
Depending on the type of trust involved, the assets may be distributed outright to the named beneficiaries, or the assets might be held in trust for the future benefit of the named beneficiaries.
When creating or administering a trust, it is important to work with an experienced trust attorney. A trust attorney can help you create a plan that meets your specific needs and can help ensure that your assets are taken care of after you’re gone.
An experienced trust attorney can also help you administer a trust in the event that you are unable to do so yourself. They can help locate assets, pay bills, and make sure assets are distributed to the correct beneficiaries.
If you have a trust, it is important to work with a lawyer who understands the intricacies of trusts and can help you manage them effectively.
How Does Trust Administration Work?
Every trust has a “trustee.” The trustee’s job is to ensure that trust assets are handled properly, and the trust terms are complied with.
Serving as a trustee entails a huge level of responsibility and liability. We have seen many instances where the person named as trustee will have limited background or experience in carrying out the legal and financial duties that come with administering a trust.
That’s okay. As long as the trustee is aware the most careful course of action is to hire an attorney to help with trust administration, then the trustee can feel comfortable knowing the trust is being administered properly, all legal requirements are being satisfied, and the trustee is minimizing or eliminating any personal liability related to the role of a trustee to the extent possible.
During trust administration, we will evaluate the title to and beneficiary designations of all of the deceased’s assets to identify which assets fall under trust administration and which assets might need to be probated. We will also coordinate appraisals of significant assets to get a clear picture of the deceased’s net worth for estate tax purposes. The successor trustee of any trust has a fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interest of the trust beneficiaries. This means that the trustee must manage trust assets carefully and prudently. The trustee must also keep accurate records of all trust transactions and maintain clear communication with the beneficiaries throughout the administration process.
We understand that this is a difficult time for you, and we are here to help in any way we can. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced California trust attorneys. We will help you through this process every step of the way.
What Types of Trusts Can I Create?
There are many different types of trusts, and each has its own purpose and requirements. Trusts can be used for a variety of purposes, including:
- To protect your assets from creditors or lawsuits
- To provide for your family after your death
- To minimize estate taxes
- To manage your assets if you become incapacitated
- To provide for a loved one with special needs
Each type of trust has different rules and requirements. It is important to work with an experienced California Estate Planning Lawyers to ensure that your trust is created correctly and that it meets your specific needs.
There are many different types of trusts, but some of the most common include:
Revocable Trusts: A revocable trust, also known as a living trust, can be created during your lifetime. You can name yourself as the trustee, and you can revoke or change the terms of the trust at any time. Revocable trusts are often used to avoid probate, but they can also be used for estate planning purposes.
Irrevocable Trusts: An irrevocable trust is a trust that cannot be changed or revoked after it has been created. Irrevocable trusts are often used for estate planning and asset protection purposes.
Testamentary Trusts: A testamentary trust is a trust that is created after your death. Testamentary trusts are often used for reducing estate taxes and provide for beneficiaries who are minors or have special needs.
Special Needs Trusts: A special needs trust is a trust that is created to provide for a beneficiary with special needs. Special needs trusts can be used to protect government benefits and provide for the unique needs of the beneficiary.
AB trusts: AB trusts, also known as marital trusts, are trusts that are created for the benefit of a married couple. AB trusts can be used to minimize estate taxes and provide for the surviving spouse after the other spouse’s death. Any trust document can be an important part of your estate plan. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced California trust attorneys. We will help you determine which type of trust is right for you and we will assist you in creating a trust that meets your specific needs.
What Are The Trustee’s Responsibilities?
Trustees are typically responsible for all of the following:
- Identification, collection, and determination of values of assets
- Payment of all debts, expenses, and taxes from estate and trust assets, with submission of regular accountings
- Advice as to the disposition of jointly held assets, life insurance, and retirement benefits that pass outside a will or trust
- Preparation of state and federal gift, generation-skipping transfer, and gift tax returns
- Notifying all heirs and beneficiaries of the trust or estate
- Communicating with beneficiaries
During the administrative aspects of settling an estate, trust disputes may arise. This can lead to serious complications. These disputes often arise during the trust administration process when there is a disagreement about the trust’s assets, beneficiaries listed as part of the trust, and more. Trust litigation may be likely if these matters don’t get settled quickly. As your trust attorney, we can work to allocate trust funds and trust property accordingly as well as settle any outstanding debts, estate taxes, and more to ensure no disputes arise.
What Happens When Trust Administration Is Complete?
Once the trust assets are ready for distribution, the trustee will refer to the trust terms as to how assets will be distributed to the named beneficiaries or held for the benefit of the named beneficiaries in the trust.
Sometimes the trust terms dictate that assets may be distributed outright to the named beneficiaries, and other times the trust terms dictate that the assets should be held in trust for the benefit of the named beneficiaries.
It is very common, for example, for trust assets to continue to be held in trust for named beneficiaries if the beneficiaries are minors or young adults, have special needs, or might have creditor issues that would unnecessarily expose their trust inheritance to risk.
If the trust assets are to be distributed outright to named beneficiaries, then the trustee will prepare and sign the appropriate conveyance documents to the named beneficiaries.
This part of the process admittedly can be complicated and time-consuming.
Plus, the trustee will likely want some sort of assurance that upon transferring trust assets to the named beneficiaries that the trustee does not remain open to future claims of wrongdoing or omission. That is where attorney guidance comes in to help you cover gaps you may not even know exist if you are navigating trust administration on your own. It is also common for a trustee to resign after the completion of trust administration.
The successor trustee will then take over and be responsible for any further actions required under the terms of the trust, such as periodic reports to named beneficiaries or ongoing management of assets held in trust for named beneficiaries. We understand that managing a trust can be a daunting task, especially if you are named as trustee for the first time. Let us help ease your burden by providing guidance and support throughout the process. We can also help ensure that all assets are properly distributed and that your responsibilities as trustee are fulfilled.
How Can I Avoid Trust Administration Disputes?
There are several things that you can do to try and avoid trust administration disputes, including:
- Communicate with your beneficiaries early and often. Make sure they are aware of their inheritance and what is expected of them. This can help avoid any surprises or misunderstandings down the road.
- Be as clear as possible in your trust documents. The more specific you are, the less room there is for interpretation and dispute.
- Choose a trustee who you believe will be level-headed and able to make decisions objectively. Avoid family drama by choosing a neutral third party, such as a professional fiduciary.
- Conduct yourself in a professional and transparent manner. Be sure to keep good records and communicate regularly with your beneficiaries.
If disputes do arise, the best thing you can do is to try and resolve them quickly and efficiently. Often, trust administration disputes can be resolved through mediation or other alternative dispute resolution methods. If not, then you may need to seek court intervention.
No matter what, it is important to have an experienced trust administration attorney by your side throughout the process to protect your interests and help guide you through any challenges that may arise.
Contact Cava and Faulkner Today to Get the Help You Nee
We are here to help you in your role as trustee so that you have the peace of mind you are performing your trustee duties as the law requires and that you are not exposed to undue risk or liability.
We will help you administer the trust as quickly and smoothly as possible.
And most importantly, we will help you communicate with the trust beneficiaries in a way that makes them feel an integral part of the process, not simply a bystander or a “nuisance.” You would be surprised at how many litigious situations we have seen arise simply from the failure to communicate with beneficiaries. That will not happen when we are guiding you in your duties as a trustee. Call us today at 916-685-1225 to get the help you need.