At some point after a living trust is created, the trust administration will begin. Typically, this happens when the creator of the trust passes away. At that time, the appointment of the successor trustee occurs and his or her responsibilities begin. Acting properly during this process can go a long way towards reducing the likelihood that the trust ends up the subject of a court battle. Here is some advice for trustees to avoid trust litigation.
Eight Valuable Tips for Trustees to Prevent Litigation
If you are the successor trustee of a trust, it is important to abide by the following helpful tips:
- Exercise common sense and seek advice from experienced legal professionals.
- Utilize good communication with the estate’s beneficiaries. The more informed they feel about your actions and the trust administration in general, the less likely there is to be a dispute.
- Do your best to avoid a conflict of interest. This means that you can never put your own individual interests ahead of the interests of the trust’s beneficiaries. Similarly, never use trust assets for your own benefit.
- Ensure that you meet all deadlines—especially with regard to taxes.
- Exercise discretion and keep the affairs of the trust private.
- Maintain accurate records of all trust transactions, and keep receipts of any distributions made to beneficiaries.
- If you need guidance or are unsure about a decision or plan of action, seek guidance from the probate court. Trustees can petition the court if needed, even though the court may otherwise not be involved in the administration process.
- If you opt to change the investments of the trust, consider obtaining a written consent from the beneficiaries, especially during administrations where there is some contention among the parties.
If you are the successor of a loved one’s trust, you do not have to take on this responsibility alone.Take our advice for trustees, we are here to offer guidance. Send us an email today for more information.
AttorneyThe Grossman Law Firm, APC · 525 B Street, Suite 1500, San Diego, CA 92101 · (951) 523-8307