San Jose Trust Administration Attorney
Whether you have been named a trustee or a successor trustee of a trust,
it is a good idea to discuss your duties and obligations with an experienced
San Jose trust administration attorney such as myself, Timothy D. Henry. As a proud member of WealthCounsel®
and with extensive experience assisting executors and trustees with their
duties, I am well-qualified to provide you with legal advice and representation.
Trusts play a key role in my practice, as I frequently incorporate
revocable and irrevocable trusts in my clients' estate plans. With an in-depth
understanding of the various types of trusts available, their benefits
and what they can and cannot do, I regularly advise trustees on how to
carry out their duties in accordance with California's laws and how
to perform these responsibilities seamlessly.
The Duties of the Trustee
Whether you have been named a trustee or a successor trustee, it's
very important that you understand your responsibilities and how to carry
them out correctly. The grantor (creator of the trust) should have made
you familiar with where the trust document, trust assets, insurance policies
(medical, life, disability, long-term care), and other important documents
Some people are very private about their finances, so don't be offended
if the grantor hasn't showed you the values of his or her trust assets.
Remember that when you step in as a trustee, these are not your assets.
You are safeguarding them for the benefit of the grantor (if living) and
the beneficiaries, who are the ones who will inherit them when the grantor
dies. As a trustee, your responsibilities include:
- You cannot comingle trust assets with your own.
- You must maintain separate checking accounts and investments.
- You cannot use the trust assets for your own benefit.
- You must invest wisely and cannot make risky investments.
- You cannot engage in a conflict of interest.
- You are responsible for keeping detailed and accurate records, filing tax
returns and reporting to the beneficiaries as directed in the trust document.
Do I have to handle the trust all by myself?
No, that is not necessary. Since a trustee is held the highest standards
of fiduciary duty, and because trustees are expected to act in the best
interests of the beneficiaries, a wrong move or financial mistake can
not only spell disaster for the trust, but the trustee can be held accountable
for their actions.
Since many trustees have little or no experience with trust administration,
they have the full opportunity to engage the services of a San Jose probate
and estate planning attorney. With so much responsibility on your shoulders,
you are fully entitled to professional assistance and I would be glad
to advise you.
If you have been appointed as a trustee or successor trustee of a San Jose
or Santa Clara County trust, I encourage you to contact me at the
Law Offices of Timothy D. Henry for the counsel you need to perform your duties effectively.