Three Ways to Get Your Questions Answered If You Are a Successor Trustee

Your friend or relative did not name you as trustee because you know all of the answers. Instead, your friend or relative named you as trustee because he trusted that you could figure out how to get the answers that you need. He named you as trustee because he trusted that you would do the right thing for the beneficiaries named in the trust and that you would act with due diligence in figuring out what the right things are for those beneficiaries.

But How Do You Do THAT?

You want to make the right choices, but you need help. You need to make sure that you understand all of the potential implications of your decisions and that you are acting in accordance with the terms of the trust and the requirements of California law.

If you have questions about how to implement the trust, then you can go to:

  • The bank or financial advisor. They may have specific information about the trust investments or assets that will be useful to you as you make financial decisions about the trust property.
  • The trust document. The terms of the trust may have very specific language about what you should or should not do. It is important to read it carefully when you are acting as trustee.
  • A trust attorney.  Sometimes the bank and the trust document do not provide enough information for you to know what you should do. However, you have the right to consult with a lawyer who is experienced in trust administration. That way, you can make sure that you are properly fulfilling your duties as trustee.

The responsibility of administering the trust is yours as trustee, but it is often beneficial to ask questions and to get the answers that you need to do your job properly. Thus, we encourage you to find out the answer to any question that you might have before you make any decisions about what to do next.

 

James F. Roberts
Founder and owner of the Law Office of James F. Roberts and Associates, a premiere estate planning law firm
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