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Trust Administration 101 – You are now a Successor Trustee

Trust Administration

Please Contact an Attorney

This is part one of a five-part series on the most common errors and issues that arise in the administration of a trust upon the death or disability of the trustors.

Common Issues

By far the most common error that individuals make when taking over the role of successor trustee is failing to reach out to an attorney so that they at least understand the basic threshold legal requirements and deadlines. One of the most common issues we face in our practice is helping trustees resolve or correct errors and mistakes that may have been made during the administration of the trust. As time passes, depending on what has transpired, a lawyer’s  ability to resolve these issues can become more limited. A brief meeting with an attorney at the beginning of the administration or retention of counsel on behalf of the trust can save all parties a great deal of headache and heartache down the road. 

Often, things are great between a trustee and the beneficiaries until they are not. The parties have been acting informally with periodic discussions and updates, but nothing is legally formalized. Then, for one reason or another the relationship breaks down and the beneficiaries are upset at the trustee and litigation is either threatened or filed . 

Prevention is Key

As counsel, this is where we would step in. However, if possible, it would be better for all involved if we were part of the initial process from day one as we can help assist in avoiding these possible breakdowns between the parties. Early attention to the details can prevent claims of malfeasance against the trustee by the beneficiaries of the trust. The cost of retaining an attorney early on often far outweighs the costs of undoing, fixing, or repairing the errors that are alleged  against a trustee at a later date. As the old adage says, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Contact a Professional

The information provided herein does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead all information, content, and materials are for general informational purposes only. Neither this website nor this post are intended to create an attorney-client relationship.

If you need assistance in the administration of a trust or have questions about how a trust should be administered, please give us a call at (805) 546-8785 and ask for Victor Herrera or our estate planning group at Carmel & Naccasha. For more details, please read our full disclaimer. 

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