Understanding Orange County Discretionary Distributions for Education

Under the terms of an Orange County living trust, you may be directed to make discretionary distributions of trust assets for the educational expenses of the beneficiaries. As trustee, you may be wondering how educational expenses are defined. Unfortunately, not every situation and expense is black and white. The following is a helpful overview for trustees directed to make these decisions.

Generally, the following expenses are clear examples of education-related costs:

  • Room and board, including between semesters
  • Tuition
  • Books
  • Computers
  • Office supplies needed for classes

While these expenses are obvious, in that they relate to education, the following are additional education-related expenses that may or may not be permissible distributions of trust property:

  • Education beyond a traditional, four-year undergraduate institution
  • Education at an unaccredited institution
  • A vehicle, if it provides transportation to and from classes
  • Certification programs that do not award a degree

For expenses such as these, it is vital that you consult with an experienced Orange County estate administration attorney for guidance before making a distribution. Making a reckless distribution of trust assets, even where discretionary, can expose a trustee to potential liability. Your attorney can help to assess the specific terms of the trust, the intent of the trust’s creator, and California case law relating to distributions for education.

For more information about educational expenses and discretionary distributions, consult with an experienced Orange County trust administration attorney today. Contact our office today at (714) 459-5481 for more information.

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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