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Recent Blog Posts

What is “Court Supervision” of a Trust?

By Robert Ross |

COURT SUPERVISION REFERS TO A PROBATE COURT OVERSEEING TRUST PROCEEDINGS Although many inter vivos trusts are designed to avoid probate and other proceedings involving the court after the settlor’s death, there are circumstances in which the probate court will (and in some cases, must) oversee the administration and handling of a trust. “Court supervision” refers… Read More »

What is the Difference Between an Inter Vivos Trust and a Testamentary Trust?

By Robert Ross |

A TESTAMENTARY TRUST IS CREATED IN A WILL AND FUNDED THROUGH PROBATE As the name suggests, a “testamentary” trust is created in a testament — either a will or an addendum to a will called a codicil. Although the terms of a testamentary trust are established in the will, the trust itself does not come into… Read More »

What Are the Damages for a Trustee’s Breach of Fiduciary Duty in California?

By Robert Ross |

TRUSTEES HAVE FIDUCIARY DUTIES TO THE BENEFICIARIES OF A TRUST Trustees are agents who hold and manage manage the assets of a trust (the trust estate) on behalf of the beneficiaries. The trustee owes fiduciary duties to both the current beneficiaries (those with current interests in the trust estate) and remainder beneficiaries (those whose interest in the… Read More »

Who is Entitled to See a Trust When the Settlor Dies?

By Robert Ross |

BENEFICIARIES AND HEIRS CAN REQUEST “THE TERMS OF THE TRUST” AFTER A SETTLOR DIES California Probate Code ( § 16061.5) requires trustees to provide a true and complete copy of the terms of (a) an irrevocable trust, or (b) the irrevocable portion of a larger trust to any of the following persons after a… Read More »

Trustee Liability for Failure to Give Proper Notice After a Settlor’s Death

By Robert Ross |

 TRUSTEES MUST SEND PROPER NOTICE TO BENEFICIARIES AFTER A SETTLOR DIES The California Probate Code requires the trustee of a revocable inter vivos trust (i.e., a trust that was established as a revocable trust during a settlor’s lifetime) to give certain notices, and disclose certain information, to the beneficiaries of the trust at certain… Read More »

What is a Professional Trustee?

By Robert Ross |

WHAT IS A PROFESSIONAL TRUSTEE? A trustee is the person (or entity, acting through an authorized individual representative) that manages trust property (also known as the trust estate). In the case of family trusts or individuals’ private trusts, the trustee usually is a private individual, either the settlor or one of the settlor’s friends or… Read More »

What Kinds of Trusts Can Exist in California?

By Robert Ross |

WHAT IS A TRUST? In the law, a “trust” is a legal relationship that relates to  property. People think of a trust as a “thing,” but in reality, a trust is a set of relationships, defined with respect to property. The property that is held in a trust is called the trust estate or trust corpus…. Read More »

What is the “Business Judgment Rule”?

By Robert Ross |

THE BUSINESS JUDGMENT RULE WAS DESIGNED TO PROTECT CORPORATE OFFICERS  The “Business Judgment Rule” is a legal principle that protects the officers and directors of corporate entities (for example, a corporation or LLC) from liability for certain kinds of actions (when acting in their official roles, on behalf of the entity). In simplified terms,… Read More »

When Has a California Trustee Breached His or Her Fiduciary Duty?

By Robert Ross |

FIDUCIARIES MUST ACT WITH “UTMOST GOOD FAITH” A fiduciary, like the trustee of a trust, must act with the highest degree of good faith, and for the benefit of the person or entity to whom the fiduciary owes the duty. In the case of a trustee, this means managing the trust, and the trust… Read More »

Who Has a Fiduciary Duty Under California Law?

By Robert Ross |

WHEN DOES A FIDUCIARY DUTY ARISE? Fiduciary relationships arise in several situations, including attorney-client relationships and the relationship between a trustee and a trust/beneficiaries. Generally speaking, fiduciary relationships involve confidentiality, trust, integrity, and a situation where a beneficiary is relying on the expertise, special skills, and/or integrity of someone else. However, a fiduciary duty… Read More »

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