Trust attorneys will tell you that a trust is a very beneficial estate planning tool. They can be useful in minimizing estate taxes and in avoiding the expense of probate. There are actually many benefits to creating a California trust. When it comes to trust administration, though, it is equally important to understand what is involved and to choose the right person to serve as your trustee so our trust will be administered appropriately.
What is the definition of a trust?
Trusts are actually fiduciary agreements between the trustor, who is the person making the trust, and the trustee. Fiduciary basically means the agreement is formed on trust and confidence. The trust document provides the necessary authority to the trustee to manage the trust assets and distribute them to the named beneficiaries. This must be done pursuant to the terms of the trust agreement. A trust can be used in place of a will, or in conjunction with a will, when it only applies to certain property.
Common goals of a California trust
As people amass their wealth, develop their retirement accounts, make their investments and purchase their assets, they are developing an estate with value. A properly drafted trust agreement can transfer those assets to the trustee in order to accomplish the specific goals, including protecting assets and ensuring they are distributed according to your plan, protecting your estate from unnecessary taxation and transfer fees, managing your affairs in case you become incapacitated, and assisting with charitable giving.
What does California trust administration involve?
No matter what your goals are for your trust, it needs to be administered by someone. Trust administration involves investment management, implementing charitable giving strategies, risk management, insurance and business succession planning, when applicable. The trustee you choose to manage your trust and its administration will be responsible for fulfilling the terms of the trust.
Who should be my trustee?
For many clients, the first place to look for a trustee is your circle of family and friends. If you are lucky enough to have mature, responsible folks in your life, that would be a good place to start. Surely, when you need someone to provide fiduciary services, an experienced and qualified professional fiduciariy would be a good candidate. Indeed, such persons have specialized skills and training which can prove to be very valuable when it comes to trust administration.
Join us for a FREE seminar! If you have questions regarding trust administration, or any other estate planning needs, contact the Northern California Center for Estate Planning and Elder Law for a consultation, either online or by calling us at (916) 437-3500.