A Firm You Can Trust Combining Experience With Heart

Trust Review, Amendment & Restatement

Experienced Los Angeles Trust Attorney Assisting Clients with Changing Needs

Setting up your trust and never looking at it again can sometimes be worse than not having a trust at all. It is the wise and responsible thing to do to periodically review the terms of the trust and ensure they remain current, relevant, and match the ever-changing family dynamic. If this periodic review does not take place, the beneficiaries end up with unrealistic expectations and the trust may be facing bitter and prolonged litigation that drains its assets.

The Law Offices of Maria N. Jonsson can assist you with trust review, amendment, and restatement. Reach out to our Los Angeles trust attorney to learn more about our comprehensive estate planning services.

Call our office at (310) 935-0706 or contact us online for a free consultation.

When to Review & Update a Trust

A trust should be taken out and looked over at least once every five to seven years to ensure it is in line with both current law and your changing circumstances, including the size of your assets, the age of your children, and specific needs of your family. Change of circumstances—such as divorce, marriage, second marriage, the birth of a child, moving to another state, or the death of your named fiduciaries—mandates updating your trust. A trust is updated by way of a trust amendment or a complete restatement of its terms.

First-to-Die & Second-to-Die Administration

When one or both of the initial trust creators (the settlors) die, the surviving spouse or, if both spouses are gone, the named successor trustee steps in and takes over the management and control of the trust property. This often includes collecting receivables, dealing with creditors, paying taxes, and, ultimately, making distributions to named beneficiaries as provided in the terms of the trust. This is not an intuitive process and involves important legal and tax considerations and deadlines.

It is the trustee’s duty to ensure that the rights of the trust beneficiaries are adequately protected. The trustee is responsible for maintaining the trust property income-producing and giving information and trust accounting to the beneficiaries. We work closely with the trustee and the trust’s CPA in regard to taking control of the trust assets and marshaling those assets to the trust beneficiaries, rendering requisite accounting, filing personal and trust income tax returns (or in some cases, estate tax returns to claim a portability election) through final distribution to the beneficiaries and the trustee’s release from liability as such. Portability election, federal estate taxes, asset valuations, sub-trust funding, and preserving the property tax reassessment exclusion are the issues that trustees generally grapple with at this stage.

Trust Administration

A trustee is accountable to the trust beneficiaries and must fulfill many important responsibilities in a timely manner. Trust beneficiaries have many rights against a trustee who does not fulfill the duties the law imposes on him or her.

Trustees can be severely punished by the court if they engage in conflicts of interest, commingling of trust and personal assets, mismanagement of trust property, taking excessive trustee fees, or avoiding contact and communication with the beneficiaries. Most often trustees get in trouble for not sending out the statutory notification by trustee advising the beneficiaries of their rights to contest the trust; or, for not providing detailed trust accounting within the time prescribed by law when presented with a written demand for accounting. In some cases, trustees can be surcharged for breaching their duties.

Call the Law Offices of Maria N. Jonsson

To learn more about how our firm can assist you with trust review, amendment, or restatement, please contact the Los Angeles trust attorney at the Law Offices of Maria N. Jonsson. We can answer your questions and help you find a solution that’s right for you and your family.

Call our office at (310) 935-0706 for a free phone or in-person consultation.

  • We Work as Part of
    a Larger Team

    We work with out client’s financial planner, CPA, realtor & insurance broker to implement a well-rounded and thorough legal plan for wealth preservation & inheritance transfer.

  • Strategic Planning &
    Attention to Detail

    We carefully look at each factor that affects the execution of an estate plan – from the perspective of minimizing and eliminating reassessment of property taxes to avoiding post-death conflicts.

  • Mediator by Training & Peacemaker by Heart

    We believe that an estate plan should leave behind not only property, but most importantly – harmony, rather than tear families apart with poorly drafted or ambiguous and confusing term