Co-Trustee Disputes Attorney in San Diego, California
A trustee manages and distributes assets in a trust. One of the most important decisions made during the creation of a trust is the selection of a sole trustee or co-trustees. A trustee can be an individual or a financial institution. At times, clients may choose to name two or more individuals as co-trustees in their trust agreement to perform these duties together.
Generally, co-trustees must agree when making decisions, either unanimously or by the majority. However, conflict is likely to arise when the co-trustees are unable to agree on the actions to take on behalf of the trust. When any sort of trust dispute arises, it is highly advisable to have a trusted San Diego estate planning attorney like Vinny on your side. Call him now and schedule an initial case evaluation.
Why Do I Need an Estate Planning Attorney in California?
California trust litigation often arises from disagreements and hostility among co-trustees. In creating a trust, each co-trustee must know their rights, so the conflict may be resolved without harming the trust beneficiary. If you find yourself involved in a dispute with your co-trustees, a reliable San Diego trust litigation lawyer like Attorney Vincent Casino will help you know the legal steps you can take to resolve the conflict.
Casiano Law Firm is prepared to handle your estate planning matters. Whether you are the trustee or co-trustee, Vinny can guide you throughout the estate administration process. Contact him now to learn more about your legal options.
What Does a Co-Trustee Do?
A trustee manages and administers a trust. The trustor puts the trust property in the hands of the trustee to control the assets on behalf of the named trust beneficiary. When there are multiple trustees appointed to manage a trust, they are called co-trustees. A skilled San Diego trust litigation attorney Vinny can help you understand the roles and responsibilities of a co-trustee.
Co-trustees jointly manage the trust’s assets. It’s paramount that they know the extent of their powers over the assets. A co-trustee cannot simply delegate or ask their fellow co-trustee to do the entire administration of the trust. Co-trustees typically share the same duties and powers, unless the trust agreement instructs otherwise. They usually need to come to a consensus when making decisions about the trust.
California law imposes on co-trustees the same duties as a sole trustee. This includes:
- Control and management of trust assets
- Filing all necessary tax returns
- Distribution of trust property to the beneficiaries
What are the Advantages of Appointing Co-Trustees?
Appointing co-trustees may seem like a good choice for many reasons. However, there are both advantages and disadvantages to utilizing co-trustees when creating an estate plan. While this co-trustee approach can have some drawbacks, it also has benefits that may be worth considering. A credible San Diego co-trustee disputes attorney like Vinny can help you decide whether a co-trustee appointment is the right move for your estate plan.
In some cases, the grantor may believe that appointing co-trustees will alleviate family tensions since decision-making power won’t lie in the hands of a single-family member. Administrative responsibilities can be allocated fairly and equitably among the co-trustees based on each trustee’s unique strengths and skills. Naming two or more co-trustees can work, but there is more opportunity for increased administrative costs and disagreements.
For instance, if a trustor has two or more children, it seems fair to have all his or her children be part of the trust administration process. However, this kind of setup might lead to sibling rivalry. In this case, naming a sole successor trustee with one or several more successors is usually the best course of action. The best practice is to base your successor trustee against a standard of conduct they have lived, such as credit score, financial management, patience, and many other characteristics.
What are the Disadvantages of Appointing Co-Trustees?
Even when the grantor’s reasoning is based on practical considerations, the use of co-trustees carries special risks which may outweigh the benefits. Having multiple trustees slows down the administration process and can inevitably stir animosity between them. When the co-trustees can’t agree, resolving the issue can be costly and time-consuming. Delays can result if the trust requires that all co-trustees be present and act together to conduct trust administration.
For example, having two trustees allows them to share the load, potentially reducing the demands on each. However, the co-trustee structure may cause inefficiency and confusion. Important tasks may slip through the cracks as one trustee assumes the other is attending to them, which can easily lead to conflict between the co-trustees.
Call an Experienced San Diego Trust Litigation Attorney Now!
Choosing the right trustee or the right combination of trustees can be difficult. In some cases, appointing a sole trustee will be the best choice. In others, co-trustees may be a better option. Carefully considering the pros and cons of each approach can help ensure that the grantor’s wishes for handling his or her estate and trust will be honored.
For many individuals appointed as co-trustee under a loved one’s trust, it can be difficult to understand what is expected. Disagreements between co-trustees may arise and may lead to legal disputes. When two or more co-trustees cannot agree on how an estate or trust should be administered, the heirs and beneficiaries may suffer the greatest if the disagreement is not resolved swiftly. With significant assets and close family ties often hanging in the balance, trust litigation can be a trying and emotionally-charged process.
If you are involved in a co-trustee dispute, you need a seasoned San Diego trust litigation lawyer. Our Casiano Law Firm attorney has the required legal skills and experience to resolve the trust administration issues and minimize any disruption to the lives and affairs of the heirs and beneficiaries. We have in-depth knowledge and understanding of the estate planning and trust administration process. Vinny provides vigorous and cost-effective representation for trust litigation matters in San Diego County and its surrounding areas. Contact our estate planning law firm now and schedule an initial consultation.