phone Free Consultation: 415-397-3713

114 Sansome St #280, San Francisco, CA 94104
114 Sansome Street, Suite 280
San Francisco, CA 94104

California Trust Attorney

The trust attorneys at Mayo & Mayo can represent you as trustee of a living trust, also called a revocable trust, or as a beneficiary of a trust. There is no charge for the initial consultation, either in the office or by phone at 415-397-3713. When the trustor dies, the trust becomes an irrevocable trust.

Our San Francisco lawyer will also help prepare the required trust accounting, coordinate any necessary appraisals, work with the trustee to expeditiously sell any real property so that all creditors can be paid.  We work closely with you to expedite the many details unique to an expeditious closure and distribution of the trust estate to the beneficiaries. Your questions will always be answered promptly and thoroughly.

Living Trust Administration Mary Mayo Img

1. Trust Law – Administration, Trustee Duties, Distribution

2. Trust Litigation and Beneficiary Disputes

3. Creditor Claims

4. Mediation


1. Trust Law

Trust Administration

A Living Trust becomes an irrevocable trust at the Trustor’s death. A power of attorney is no longer legally effective and the successor Trustee is in control of the estate but must report to the beneficiaries and distribute a Trust in a timely manner. Trust law provides that if all of the estate property is held in the family trust as of the date of death that there is no need to file a probate with the probate court.

Our California estate attorneys will first determine if the property in the trust includes all of the trust estate and if there is a home in the trust. If some property was not properly funded into the Trust then the estate attorney will provide legal advice to the trustees as to how to distribute assets left outside the trust estate or request the probate court to put the property in trust using a Heggstad Petition.

After the statutory notices and copy of the estate plan documents are provided to everyone mentioned in the Trust and pour over Will, the creditors are paid. Often most of the estate needs to liquidated and real property sold in order to distribute the proceeds, pay creditors and to pay federal and estate taxes and our San Francisco attorney will work with you to accomplish these items. Our trust attorney in San Francisco will help the trustee properly administer the Trust and provides all required notices, estate tax filings, detailed accounting required by estate law and distributions to the beneficiaries.

What is a Trustee For and What are the Trustee’s Duties?

The trustee’s responsibilities are set forth in the probate code, including the form of the accounting and other duties such as notice to the beneficiaries of the time limit they have to file a trust contest. The Trust itself determines who is a trustee in a trust and if you are named as a successor trustee you may decline to serve as trustee by providing a written resignation letter to all beneficiaries and to the successor trustee next in line after you. The trustee is entitled to reasonable trustee fees and both the trustee fees and the attorney fees are paid from the Trust estate. The executor of a Will has limited duties when there is a Trust unless there are specific provisions in the Will or minor children where a guardian is named. The trust lawyers at Mayo & Mayo can prepare all of the required notices, accounting and other legal advice to the trustee since most trustees are not professional trustees and need the assistance of an attorney to properly administer the Trust and avoid hopefully litigation with the beneficiaries.

When Should the Trustee Distribute the Trust to the Beneficiaries?

Even if the Trust does not specify a time within which the Trust property is to be distributed, trust law dictates that the Trust estate be distributed within a reasonable time from the date of death of the Trustor unless there are specific instructions to distribute part of the Trust over time or conditions that need to be met. Starting right away to properly administer the Trust is the only approach, even if the trustees have delayed up to this point. Delay often results in litigation and claims for breach of fiduciary duty against the trustee and makes it more difficult to prepare the trust accounting.

Estate Taxes

Estate tax liability is based on the size of the estate and the year of decedent’s death. For example, if the decedent died in 2016, there is no estate tax filing requirement for estates valued at $5,450,000 or more. We can explain in ore detail and the IRS has more detailed information on this issue than can be included here.

If Certain Assets Were Not Funded Into the Trust

If the decedent had a Trust but all of the assets such as real estate were not recorded or funded as property in the Trust estate as of the date of death, our estate attorneys can file a Heggstad petition with the probate court to request that the Judge enter an order to transfer those omitted assets to the Trust so that the assets can be included as trust property in order to avoid probating those assets.  Whether or not the Judge will enter such an Order depends on the language in the individual trust.

2. Beneficiary Litigation and Disputes

If the trustee of a trust does not comply with trust law then the beneficiaries may file a petition in the probate court to remove the trustee and request a full accounting. The beneficiaries can also ask that the Trustee pay damages to the beneficiaries for delay, breach of fiduciary duty and other problems caused by the Trustee. The trustee generally has broad decision making power, however, extreme delay or misconduct is not permitted. Our California trust litigators can represent either the trustee or the non-trustee beneficiary of a Trust and have extensive experience litigating trust disputes and trust contests.

3. Creditor Claims

If you are a creditor and the Trustee of the Trust is not paying your creditor claim, the estate lawyers at Mayo & Mayo can represent your interests. In order to minimize your legal fees, Mayo & Mayo will attempt to negotiate a compromise for all parties first before commencing litigation, however, if litigation is required, we have extensive experience litigating creditor claims.

4. Mediation

Mary Mayo is a trust lawyer and also a certified mediator proficient in mediating disputes between the beneficiaries and trustee.

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Mayo & Mayo Law Firm 114 Sansome St., San Francisco, CA 94104

Mayo & Mayo Law Firm
114 Sansome St., San Francisco, CA 94104