Probate, Estate Planning and Trust Law
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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?

Your powers as a trustee are clearly spelled out in Chapter 2 of Part 4 of the California Probate Code. There, it clearly states that as a trustee you are allowed to do the following without needing to have first obtained permission from the court:

  •          Perform any duties outlined in the trust instrument.
  •          Perform any actions aimed at accomplishing the purposes of the trust that are done with prudence as well as with reasonable care and caution given to the current circumstances.
  •          Exercise any powers conferred to you by the law except those explicitly limited by the trust instrument.

All of the powers granted to trustees by law are too many to be named here. However, general ones referring specifically to the effective management of the trust include the power to receive additional property and assets into the trust from anyone, including the settlor. You are also authorized by law to hire any additional people needed to help in the administration of the trust's assets, and to pay those parties for their services from the trust's assets, as well. You are also allowed to compensate yourself for your services in a manner that is reasonable. 

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