Alameda County Trust Administration Attorneys
Qualified Counsel & Comprehensive Legal Services
Establishing a trust is often the most consequential estate planning decision a person will make in their lifetime. As a result, the administration of a trust, whether the settlor is living or not, is a significant responsibility. At Randick O’Dea Tooliatos Vermont & Sargent, our trust attorneys work closely with estate trustees to help them successfully administer trusts and avoid legal disputes. Call our law office in Alameda County to learn more about our trust administration services.
If you are not sure that you can benefit from a trust, feel free to ask our lawyer. Give our Castro office (510) 344-2599 or Pleasanton Valley office (925) 460-3700 a call to request a case evaluation today.
Why Do People Include Trusts in Their Estate Plans?
Trusts are the cornerstones of a comprehensive estate plan. While a trust acts similarly to a will, the process is often more private and can help beneficiaries of the estate avoid the stress that is associated with the probate process. Trusts can also help minimize any future family conflicts, protect assets, and maintain eligibility for certain types of benefits. Although many people believe that establishing a trust is only something for the very wealthy, in reality, even people of relatively modest means can often benefit from including trusts in their estate plans.
What Are the Legal Responsibilities of a Trustee?
Designated trustees owe the beneficiaries of the trust a fiduciary duty, which is the highest legal duty. When a settlor designates a successor trustee, they expect the trustee will properly manage and distribute the trust assets in accordance with their wishes set out in the trust document. This includes being unbiased, not self-serving, and making reasonable decisions regarding the management of the trust.
Some duties of a trustee include:
- Managing investments
- Paying necessary taxes
- Keeping accounting records
- Keeping trust beneficiaries informed
- Distributing trust assets as instructed
While many trustees may mean well, they may not have the time, knowledge, or ability to complete all the necessary estate duties as a trust attorney would. If beneficiaries believe that a trustee is not doing their duties, is making poor decisions, or has breached the fiduciary duty, they can take legal action against the trustee.
What is a Living Trust on a House?
A living trust is a legal document that allows a person (the grantor or trustor) to transfer ownership of their property, such as a house, into the trust while they are still alive. The trust is managed by a trustee, who is responsible for overseeing the property and ensuring that it is used for the benefit of the beneficiaries named in the trust.
Ownership Transfer: When the grantor establishes a living trust, they transfer the ownership of the house into the trust and they become the trustee and a beneficiary at the same time. The trust becomes the legal owner of the house and the grantor can continue to live in the house and use it as they would if they still owned it.
Avoiding Probate: One of the main benefits of a living trust is that it can avoid probate, which is the legal process of distributing a person's assets after they die. Because the house is owned by the trust, it does not need to go through probate, which can save time and money for the beneficiaries. Additionally, a living trust can also provide privacy, as the details of the trust and its assets are not part of the public record like a will.
Dedicated Trust Administration Attorneys in Your Corner
Our law firm in Alameda County is known for providing legal services that are efficient and attentive to the unique needs of our clients. We are committed to helping trustees navigate the often complicated process of trust administration, which is why we proudly offer effective and solution-oriented legal representation and counsel.