Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in California

My mother transferred her property into a revocable trust naming herself AND her daughter as trustees. Can they act alone if both are still living? There is not a successor trustee named.

Asked on 5/16/13, 1:15 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Michele Cusack Pollak & Cusack
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Trustees can not delegate their fiduciary duties, but some trusts do allow for delegation of routine acts of trust administration and allow accounts which will accept the signature or one or either trustee. You'd have to see the terms of the trust instrument.

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5/16/13, 1:19 pm
Julie Mains Mains Law Office
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It depends on what the Trust states. It should specify one way or the other. Typically, if it is a husband and wife as Settlors, either can act alone. But if it is a parent/child, typically, they act together as co-trustees because it is the parent's assets but the child is on there to make sure the parent is not unduly influenced and the parent is on there to make sure the child does not make off with the parent's assets while the parent is still living. Your first order of business is to go to the Trust and see what it states. If it is silent on the issue, then the Co-Trustees act together. In addition, someone should encourage an amendment to name successor in the event both fail to qualify or cease being Trustees.

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5/16/13, 1:19 pm
Victor Waid Law Office of Victor Waid
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I agree with prior answer by counsel. Previous counsel is entirely correct in her assessment of the problem and answer re authority of co trustees and recommendation of an amendment to name an alternate successor trustee.

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5/16/13, 1:23 pm

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