If choosing one person to serve as your successor trustee is not desirable for your Orange County estate plan, you can consider appointing co-trustees during the creation of your plan. There are both advantages and disadvantages to utilizing co-trustees. Your experienced Orange County estate planning lawyer can help you decide whether a co-trustee appointment is the right move for your particular plan.
The following is a general overview of how co-trustees work with living trusts in California:
- Co-trustees may have equal powers, or their powers may be divided in accordance with the trust instrument.
- Co-trustees can be required to obtain the consent of the other trustees before taking certain actions, or you can authorize one co-trustee to act alone.
- Co-trustees are responsible for disclosing trust information to the beneficiaries. They do not need the permission of the other trustees to do so.
- All of the co-trustees will have certain fiduciary duties.
- A breach of one co-trustee could create a legal liability for the trust.
- In some cases, a co-trustee can be liable for the breaches of another trustee.
- Co-trustees can demand full disclosure from each other.
- Co-trustees are required to report any suspected breaches immediately.
- Co-trustees can sue each other if they reasonably believe a breach has occurred.
- Co-trustees can resign from their position or can decline to accept the appointment.
Choosing your successor trustees during the creation of your Orange County estate plan is a very important step. Fortunately, the experienced Orange County estate planning attorneys at the Law Office of James F. Roberts & Associates, APC can help you decide whether to appoint one trustee or several co-trustees to work together. Call our office today at (714) 459-5481 for a consultation.