Can a Trustee Be Held Personally Liable?

image of trustee hands signing a legal document for a trust

The United States is entering a new demographic era and as a result, a new era of estate planning. With the dramatic increase of the population entering their golden years, more and more households are using trusts and other estate planning tools. It is now a commonly used tool both in upper and middle-class families. As a result, more and more of the general population are being asked to serve as trustees. Emphasis on serve, because acting as a trustee really is service. It requires attention to detail and the ability to work with people, and the conflict which that sometimes entails.

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Can You Sue a Trustee for Negligence?

In many situations where family, friends, or even less acquainted people are asked to make key decisions for others, there is often discord and even out-and-out hostilities. It may be because of the intention, communication, outcome, or many other parts of a chain of events. When the stakes are high, the conflicts can be greater and more heated, especially when significant amounts of money or property are involved.

This is exactly the situation when trusts are in place.

A person, usually known as the grantor, sets aside a large pool of resources. Then, rules are written on how to distribute and dispose of those resources. This is the trust document. The person who enforces the parameters of the trust is called the trustee. Their goal is to execute the trust as the grantor wished and organized. Problems often arise if the trust is not clearly written or facts change, making the initial execution nearly impossible. In the worst case, problems occur because a trustee intentionally breaches a duty to the trust.

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Difference Between Probate, Trust, and Estate Lawyers

gavel laying on book in library

We are lucky to live in a great part of the United States, the country that is still the most stable and prosperous in the world. We are fortunate to have a great entrepreneurial spirit: success often comes easy to those who focus and work hard. We applaud that success and have focused on providing professional services to support that hard work and material success by protecting your assets and helping you to see that it is distributed according to your wishes. That will at minimum take the work of estate lawyers, often trust and probate lawyers as well. Life is unpredictable, full of twists and turns, and things happen.

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How Much Time Do You Have to Complete a 1031 Exchange?

Consider this scenario: You hear the market is hot, and you decide to swap out a property you own for a new one. Possibly to create more revenue, perhaps because it’s closer to you geographically, or because you want less maintenance to perform. In any of these situations, you have a limited time to act once you sell the property you are exiting, and it is not always easier to close on a new property. Read the following to learn about the specifics of the 1031 Exchange time limits.

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Does a 1031 Exchange Avoid California Taxes?

Two people trading money for house in a 1031 exchange. Contract on table.

Managing real estate investments in California is fraught with difficulties. Having to worry about tax liability while you are dodging legislative hurdles – rent control, local government planning commissions, and short-term eviction bans – counters most wealth-building strategies. While we can help with those issues too, this article is focused on capital gains tax relief. Particularly how not to get burned by taxes when closing out a real estate position with a 1031 Exchange.

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The Differences Between Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts

You have probably seen someone– a non-lawyer likely– selling living trusts, offering numerous promises, including “saving money,” avoiding probate, and reducing or avoiding taxes. Some salespeople will say that living trusts ensure privacy or can be used to prevent actions by creditors, including the government and health care providers. There are even trust “mills” that pump out trusts with little to no regard for the actual needs and desires of clients. It is imperative to make sure that you hire an expert to achieve your objectives. Attorneys have studied trusts in law school, know the place of trusts in an estate plan, and can provide a holistic solution for their clients that consider all of the circumstances of the household. Below, we will discuss the differences between revocable and irrevocable trusts and how a proper lawyer can help you achieve the goals mentioned with the correct legal instrument.

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Upstream Basis Planning – The Smart Way to Reduce Your Taxes

There are various ways to reduce your taxable income, including a number of significant tax deductions, credits, and exclusions to look at. While there are dozens of deductions available to choose from, one that often gets overlooked is the option to reduce your capital gains (or income) taxes via the upstream basis method. This method allows you to calculate the cost basis after the sale of an investment or other capital asset. Find out more about this smart way to reduce your taxes by reading this quick guide on Upstream Basis Planning to reduce your Capital Gains Tax!

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The Ultimate Guide to Dealing with an Uninsured Motorist

One of life’s constant frustrations is playing by the rules, doing the right thing, and watching the results of hard work threatened by someone who does not or cannot act responsibly. You can work, save and manage risk by having insurance, but all of that may seem futile if an at-fault motorist driving a vehicle crashes into your vehicle or property and causes catastrophic damage, both to property and to people. Nothing can bring back life and health when it is significantly damaged. Unfortunately, California has the highest number of uninsured drivers in the country. However, you can at least have the peace of mind to know that it will not destroy your business or estate. Attorneys can structure risk management and estate planning tools to thwart the harm of uninsured motorists as much as possible.

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How an Industrial Setting Can Result in Negligence and Wrongful Death

Unfortunately, Murphy’s law is real, and you have to shield yourself from calamity. Even with the best of intentions and your desire for universal safety, someone under your employ or care may suffer a negligent injury and perish. It happens much less nowadays, but even one event is too much. Many employees, customers, patients, and their families, in addition to the negligent party, face significant loss when a tragedy strikes.

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Separate Property Trust as an Alternative to Prenups

Even though love is grand, the incidence of marital separation is not trivial. Subsequent marriages carry an even higher rate of failure. One should not plan for divorce but rather be prepared for it, just as one should generally be prepared for misfortune by having in place estate planning instruments like wills, trusts, and other directives.

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