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California law provides that both individual and corporate trustees are entitled to compensation for their services as trustee. Corporate trustees, sometimes referenced as professional trustees, are different than individuals - like an aunt or an uncle administering a trust.
It's been over 40 years since I first represented clients in a will contest. A lot has changed over the years in estate litigation on behalf of beneficiaries. We now have elder financial abuse laws that can be enforced in jury trials. These newer laws often supplement the rights and remedies available from probate courts and allow the prosecution of some claims in the civil trial courts.
The power of trustees should not be underestimated. It is said that power can be intoxicating. Some grow with its possibilities and some swell with pride and arrogance. Those who swell may act like potentates whose power can be exercised arbitrarily and without explanation. When queried for reasoning behind a decision, their answer might mimic a parent's answer to a young child's question - "Because I said so!" While this might end a parent-child discussion, it is offensive to an adult trust beneficiary whose parent invested love, thought, time and money in establishing a trust for the benefit of her children, not a trustee.
You're the beneficiary of a trust in California. You want to ensure that the distribution of trust assets is smooth and timely. And while the chances are good that distribution to beneficiaries will go off without a hitch, there is still potential trouble to look out for. What are the top five factors to keep in mind if you're the heir to an estate and are concerned about a bad trustee or possible trust litigation?
You learn that you have been named as a beneficiary of a trust. Many questions come to mind. What's next? What are my rights? It helps to start with a few basics about trust structures, their creation and their managers.