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Co-trustees, to Appoint or Not?

When planning your estate, the question of who to appoint as your trustee can be a difficult one. After all, this is the person that will administer your estate at your death, which includes marshaling your assets and property, paying any bills, communicating with your beneficiaries and family, and ultimately distributing your estate to your beneficiaries. This requires a financially prudent, intelligent and fair-minded person who will likely be available when it comes time to administer your trust.

Often, parents struggle with the choice of which child to appoint as the trustee. To compromise, they may decide to appoint their children as co-trustees. Although this may seem like an easy and fair choice, this decision should not be taken lightly. The California Probate Code specifically requires that absent contrary language in the trust, co-trustees must unanimously agree on all decisions regarding the administration of the trust. This means that the trustees must jointly agree on all decisions and sign all expense checks. If co-trustees cannot agree, then they will have to seek court guidance at great expense. Even worse, they may have to each hire attorneys to advocate for their respective positions in regard to the administration of the trust.

Therefore, before you decide on having more than one person act as your trustee you should consider discussing your options with your attorney. To learn how our attorneys can assist you, contact us today.

This material in this article, provided by Chauvel & Glatt, is designed to provide informative and current information as of the date of the post. It should not be considered, nor is it intended to constitute, legal advice or promise similar outcomes.  For information on your particular circumstances, please contact Chauvel & Glatt at 650-573-9500. (Photo credit: 123rf.com)


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