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Protect Your Assets, Choose a Trust Administration and Taxation Lawyer

A living trust is an important tool to avoid probate, and working with a trust administration and taxation lawyer is essential to navigate the process with optimum results. Probate is a court-supervised process of gathering and distributing assets of a decedent through either a will (if the decedent had a will) or pursuant to California's laws of intestacy (if the decedent died without a will). The probate process is long and expensive, and it requires court supervision. If a person has a living trust, it appoints a trustee that is responsible for making sure that a decedent's wishes, as expressed in the trust, are complied with. In addition, the trustee has to comply with the California law and the federal tax law. The trustee administers the trust assets and the court is not involved in the process. A trust administration and taxation lawyer helps the trustee to administer the trust estate and to comply with state and federal tax laws.

If the trustee fails to comply with the California law, as well as the federal tax law, he might be exposed to potential litigation and potential liability for failing to fulfill his duties as trustee. In addition, his failure to properly administer the trust estate may result in higher estate taxes or the loss of tax exemptions. Thus, it is important for a trustee to seek the advice of a trust administration and tax attorney who has experience in the administration of trusts and understands the tax implications of trust administration in California.

The main objective of trust administrator is to preserve trust assets and minimize tax liabilities. Trust administration can have significant financial consequences not only for current, but also future beneficiaries. A trust administration and taxation lawyer is able to blend efficient trust administration with tax savings because of his unique combination of skills: his knowledge and experience as a trust administration lawyer, and his knowledge and experience as a trust tax lawyer.

The trustee must comply with California's statutory notice requirements to beneficiaries and heirs, contact and keep the beneficiaries informed, must gather and invest assets, pay debts, notify potential creditors, prepare, file and pay taxes, prepare accountings, and distribute income or assets in conformity with the trust's provisions. In addition, if the trust has provisions for continuing administration of trust assets for the benefit of minors, charities or for ongoing generations, the trustee's role is much more involved and complex. In such situations, the trustee is expected to invest the trust's assets well, distribute money fairly and always act in the best interests of the beneficiaries. Moreover, if one of the beneficiaries is incapacitated, issues of care and/or abuse may arise. A tax administration and taxation lawyer helps the trustee to fulfill his duties as a trustee while also assisting him to make the best decisions to preserve trust assets for the benefit of the beneficiaries.

A trustee's life in California can get even more complex if the trust nominates more than one trustee. In California, a trust can have more than one trustee, but the co-trustees have to act unanimously unless the trust itself provides otherwise, in which case the terms of the trust prevail. A co-trustee can be held liable for the breach of the fiduciary duty by the other co-trustee or co-trustees and, as such, it is important that he has the assistance of an administration and taxation lawyer to make sure that he is shielded from liability from other co-trustees' actions. In addition, if the co-trustees cannot agree, with regard to a decision, they may need to file a petition for instructions with the Court in which they seek the Court's guidance. Moreover, if the co-trustees have a hostile relationship, one or more of the co-trustees might be removed by the Court. A tax administration and taxation lawyer can also assist a co-trustee when the Court's intervention is necessary.

Tucker Cheadle is an attorney and a tax expert. He has acted as a fiduciary, trustee, executor, and administrator on more than 70 trusts and wills. Cheadle Law continues working with clients year over year because of the skill and expert handling of all trust matters including tax returns, administrating trusts and the overall management of the clients' trust.

With over 30 years of experience, Tucker Cheadle and his team of accountants and paralegals will help you make the best decisions while administering a living trust. Call Tucker Cheadle at 949-553-1066. He will go over your options, and help you get clarity to make wise future decisions about how to administer a trust estate.

A review of any materials on this web page, any preliminary comments or an introductory meeting does not constitute legal, income tax or accounting advice upon which reliance can be placed. The attorney client relationship can only be created by a written retainer agreement following a check of potential and actual conflicts of interest with other clients.
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