I am the trustee of a California trust, and I am instructed to make discretionary distributions. What should I do?

Often times, a trust will leave property to an individual or a group of individuals, but it will instruct the trustee to decide when the distributions should be made and how much they should be for. There may be little or no guidance provided by the trust document with regard to how and when these distributions should be made. As a result, you may feel uncertain as to what distributions are appropriate. If you are the trustee of a California trust and find yourself in this position, the following is a list of helpful tips:

  • Contact an experienced California trust attorney who can guide you through the trust administration process.
  • Gather copies of the trust document and any amendments for the attorney to review.
  • Carefully review the terms outlined in the trust document.
  • Consider the purpose of the trust and the goals that the creator of the document had in mind when establishing the trust.
  • Consider various factors when deciding to make a distribution, such as the age of the beneficiary or his or her particular need for the property.
  • Make discretionary distributions in good faith and in accordance with California trust law.

Administering a trust in California can be a lengthy and overwhelming process. Choosing when and how to make discretionary distributions is just one aspect of the overall administration process. Our free guide The Insider’s Guide to California Probate and Trust Administration provides helpful information for trustees about this process. 

To learn more about discretionary distributions and other trustee responsibilities, contact an experienced San Diego trust lawyer for guidance. Call our toll-free number today at (888) 443-6590.

Scott Grossman

Scott Grossman


The Grossman Law Firm, APC · 525 B Street, Suite 1500, San Diego, CA 92101 · (951) 523-8307