Establishing a trust is one of the ways you can approach estate planning. The owner of the trust is the grantor, and they appoint a trustee. A trustee can be a family member or close friend but consider hiring a professional or an organization with no personal stake in your estate. The trustee you appoint will have complete access to the entire estate in your trust. They will know everything.
Aspects of the trust the trustee should know
When you create a trust, it is a binding legal agreement that details who will manage your estate and how they should manage it. A trustee’s fiduciary duty entails them to know the complete answers to these questions:
- Who did the grantor assign as beneficiaries?
- What are the assets and properties in the estate?
- What is the extent of the properties in the trust?
- What is the purpose of the trust?
- Who will inherit what part of the estate?
- When should the trustee distribute the estate?
- How expansive are the powers and duties of the trustee?
These answers are the foundation of your terms and conditions. A trustee must not only know these but respect you and their duty to conduct your testaments as stipulated in the trust.
Trust litigation when the trustee breaches duty
A trustee cannot exercise any more power than what the grantor authorized in the trust. California law insists that the trustee must always act with the best interest of the beneficiaries and the grantor in mind.
If you suspect a trustee has violated any part of the agreement, such as if they were negligent or intentionally misappropriating assets, you can take them to court through trust litigation. It can help solve legal disputes and hold them accountable for any damages your family has incurred.