Probate, Estate Planning and Trust Law
Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo  Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo
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August 2016 Archives

The importance of estate planning

Nowadays, most people associate estate planning with only the rich and wealthy. However, estate planning can benefit many families, no matter their income level. Furthermore, the earlier you have made these important plans the better, because it will allow you the peace of mind of knowing that your affairs are in order.

Proving that you are an heir

For those in Woodland Hills who are not able to work with us here at the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo to officially designate beneficiaries to their estates, the issue of who is given ownership of their assets upon their deaths is dictated by state law. If you, for example, had a parent who died without a will, then you may be considered an heir to his or her estate. However, unless you are directly identified as so, you may have to go through the process of proving yourself to be one.

An overview of trust companies

When Woodland Hills residents first begin to consider the idea of setting up a trust, their first thoughts may be to appoint friends or family members as their trustees. While this may be understandable given the established relationships that they may already have with such parties, oftentimes the duties of a trustee can be complex and difficult for a laymen to completely comprehend. The California Probate Code offers a potential solution to those searching for a qualified trustee. It states that a trust company may be appointed to such a role in the same manner as any individual.

What powers do you have as a trustee?

To take upon the role of trustee over a trust containing the real property and assets of a family member or friend in Woodland Hills can be quite a daunting task. Before agreeing to assume such a role, it may be helpful to understand exactly what powers you have as a trustee. These may seem to be spelled out in the general definition of a trust: a collection of assets transferred to you to be managed accordingly. Yet once you have been entrusted with these assets, what then are you allowed to do to ensure that the trust is managed properly?

When is a trustee in breach of trust?

If you are the beneficiary of a trust being administered in Woodland Hills, you may at times feel as though you are at the mercy of the trustee. After all, that person or party has been given authority to oversee the trusts' assets. However, his or her role should not be mistaken for control over those assets. In fact, the trust instrument typically outlines a specific duty that the trustee owes to you as a beneficiary. A violation of that duty is considered to be a breach of trust, and could be grounds to have the trustee's powers revoked.