If you have been a reader of our blog for any period of time, you have likely learned that you want to take the steps necessary to avoid probate (see https://www.filippilaw.com/why-avoid-probate). Not just for the excessive cost and time it takes to proceed through that process, but because of the hassle it causes your family (see https://www.filippilaw.com/what-is-probate). However, you may be surprised to learn there are some little-known situations when your estate won’t need to go through this probate process.
It is very likely you have heard this term being used when discussing the passing of someone you know. However, it is equally likely you do not quite understand what it is and what the process includes. Well, with this article and future articles, we are going to solve this for you.
When a trust is made irrevocable, either through the death of a settlor (the person who created the trust) or through expressed language in the trust agreement, the trust generally cannot be unilaterally amended or modified. However, this doesn’t mean that if the trust is no longer serving its original purpose, you are stuck with a useless trust.
The answer is not as easy as yes or no (of course, it involves attorneys right!). As you may know, the trustee of a trust serves in a fiduciary position in which they manage the trust. The role is different than a beneficiary who receives the benefit of the assets held in the trust.
You will often hear of talk about why you should take steps to avoid having your estate end up in probate court being divided and distributed by the approval of a judge. Those with the knowledge of how this process works will be the ones leading the charge when it comes to avoiding probate.
We have spoken extensively in this blog about the importance of establishing a trust to ensure the disposition of your estate is done in accordance to your wishes. Employing a trust as your tool for distributing your estate is by far the easiest method of managing your affairs. But what does that all look like? And is it so easy you can do it yourself? The answer to these questions is exactly what I plan to provide in this article.
The short answer to the topic question is yes, in California, a trustee can also be a beneficiary, but there are several serious concerns you need to be aware of to ensure your trust doesn’t become legally invalid. To truly understand how this can go wrong, we have to dive into a little property law.
Parents typically chose a child to serve in this trustee capacity because it seems easy and believe it will cause the least amount of fighting possible. However, sometimes this plan doesn’t quite work they way it was intended, and in-fighting amongst the sibling beneficiaries ensues. So what happens when a bad trustee strikes?