In California, a trustee has a significant amount of control over the trust administration process. The trustee has the power to gather the assets of the trust, work with creditors, and distribute the trust assets to the beneficiaries. The trustee also owes the beneficiaries of the trust (and the trust itself) a fiduciary duty to act in their best interests at all times. Unfortunately, this does not always happen, and trustees sometimes breach their duties to beneficiaries to the extent that it justifies their removal .
Trusts are an extremely common way for people to transfer assets to others at the ends of their lives, and it is easy to understand why. When a person uses a will to dispose of assets, the estate must go through a process known as probate, which can prove long and complicated, and cost the estate a significant amount of money in fees. On the other hand, using a trust to transfer assets to beneficiaries avoids probate, as the transfer takes place immediately on the occurrence of some specified event.
We're nearing the end of the year and many thoughts come to mind of "all that has been." The press of year end business coupled with the magnificence of the Christmas season make December a very busy month. Whatever the press of business or the season's needs the most important part of our lives should not be forgotten. It is this sense of gratitude that we share.
Communities across California overwhelmingly support programs to prevent financial elder abuse and to punish those responsible for this offense. California law provides clear civil and criminal remedies to enforce the rule that elder financial abusers must be held accountable for all the harms and losses that they cause. In estate, trust and probate litigation, that means that predators can be made to pay for their wrongdoing in civil court.