Category: Trust Administration

Subscribe to Trust Administration RSS Feed

A Friend Request From The Beyond: California’s New Post-Death Digital Assets Law

Next time you schedule an appointment with Downey Brand’s Sacramento office to revise your estate plan you will have a new question to consider: who will manage your Facebook account when you’re gone? Assembly Bill No. 691, which became effective on January 1, 2017, attempts to aid in that process.  It is commonly called the … Continue Reading

Notice of Proposed Action May Quiet Back Seat Driving Beneficiaries

Acting as a trustee can be a thankless and time consuming job, especially when the reward at the end is nothing more than second-guessing from trust beneficiaries.  In our Sacramento-based trust and estate practice, we represent trustees who have strained relationships with beneficiaries, whether their siblings, step-relatives, or otherwise.  One useful tool to help trustees manage … Continue Reading

Sacramento Court Limits Reach of Anti-SLAPP Law in Trust Disputes

A few months ago, I wrote about the anti-SLAPP statute as a powerful defensive tool in California trust and estate litigation. Adding new light to the subject is a Sacramento-based appellate court’s decision in Greco v. Greco (2016) 2 Cal.App.5th 810. The case narrows the ability of fiduciaries to bring motions to dismiss under the … Continue Reading

Red Alert: California Trust and Estate Litigation on an Ex Parte Basis

It’s early in the morning, you’ve only just started your first cup of coffee, and your first few sips of java have not yet percolated your brain into full gear. Suddenly, your cellphone vibrates, a call is coming. You do not recognize the number, but you answer anyway. Hello? You have just been provided notice … Continue Reading

California Courts Interpret Ambiguous Trust Documents by Stepping Into Creator’s Shoes

Guest author Karina Stanhope, a former Downey Brand associate, contributes today’s post. Trust documents should be customized to serve the estate planning objectives of those who create them. While Parent One may want all of her assets to be distributed in equal shares to her children, Parent Two may want to exclude a child from … Continue Reading

Watch Out for SLAPPs in California Trust and Estate Litigation

In heated California trust and estate litigation, one party’s petition to the probate court often leads the other side to file a retaliatory petition. If Sally petitions in Sacramento County Superior Court to contest Mom’s trust amendment on the ground that Mom had Alzheimer’s disease and lacked sufficient mental capacity to reduce Sally’s share, brother … Continue Reading

Stepmother Prevails on Accounting Issues at Court of Appeal

Sometimes stepmothers are just misunderstood. Babbitt v. Superior Court (2016) 246 Cal.App.4th 1135, recently decided by the California Court of Appeal, involves one of the fact patterns that we often see in California trust litigation: children from a decedent’s prior marriage have conflict with their biological parent’s surviving spouse. In other words, after dad passes away, … Continue Reading

Fund Your California Trust Now to Avoid the “Lost and Found” Later

A trust is a vehicle for managing and disposing of property. Just as you don’t want to leave your suitcase on the beach when you return from vacation, you should ensure that your assets are securely loaded into the trust you have created. If you don’t, your assets may end up held in the legal … Continue Reading

When Can You Remove a Problem Trustee?

In California trust administrations, the trustee is in the driver’s seat. The trustee marshals the assets, deals with creditors, and (except in the case of ongoing trusts) gets them distributed out to the beneficiaries in fractional shares per the terms of the trust. But what happens when the trustee favors himself as a beneficiary, disfavors … Continue Reading

An Accountant and a Lawyer Walk Into a Bar…

At the Sacramento Estate Planning Council’s 2016 Technical Forum on Tuesday an elderly gentleman sitting next to me said “old accountants never die, they just lose their balance” and “old attorneys just lose their appeal(s).”  Sometimes both happen when an unbalanced accounting results in a lost appeal.  The California Court of Appeal issued a rare … Continue Reading

An Introduction to Department 129 of Sacramento County Superior Court

This month Judge Steven M. Gevercer will replace Judge David F. De Alba as the probate judge in Department 129 of the Sacramento County Superior Court. Judge Gevercer was appointed to the bench by Governor Jerry Brown in 2012 and previously served in the California Attorney General’s Office. Judges typically spend a year or two … Continue Reading

Fee Fi Fo Fum: Trustee Fees Can Be a Giant Issue in Trust Administration

Trustee fees are common flash points in the administration of family trusts. Trustees may put in hundreds of hours cleaning out and selling the family home, dealing with accountants, lawyers, and realtors, and otherwise working to distribute assets out to the beneficiaries. A diligent trustee provides a valuable service and should be compensated for his … Continue Reading

Tick, Tock … When Will I Get My Share of Mom and Dad’s Trust?

Most family trusts call for the outright distribution of assets to specific individuals (i.e., remainder beneficiaries) after the creators of the trust are gone.  In the most common scenario, the assets get doled out to the adult kids after Mom and Dad pass.  Even when a trustee is diligent and the situation is straightforward, it … Continue Reading

The Rising Tide of Trust and Estate Litigation

Inheritance fights are nothing new, nor is public fascination with them. Charles Dickens published Bleak House in 1853, satirizing the English legal system in the context of the fictional case of Jarndyce v. Jarndyce. More recently, John Grisham’s Sycamore Row, released in 2013, was at the top of the New York Times best seller list. … Continue Reading
LexBlog