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I Am The Trustee Of A Trust in Santa Clara County. Do I Have To Go To Court?

Matt is the trustee of his father’s trust in Santa Clara County.  His father has recently passed away and he has a document and does not know what to do next.  His two siblings have lots of ideas and thoughts about what Matt can and cannot do.  While Matt is appreciative of their advice, he has ideas his own ideas about what he should do.  He has looked over the trust and understands how his father wanted things to be distributed.  He is unsure of the process and does not want to get into trouble. Does he need to file anything with the court or go to court?

One of the advantages of a California trust administration is it is much quicker when compared a probate administration of a will.  Another advantage is the trust remains private as it not mandatory it is filed with the superior court or the county recorder’s office.  The trust is only filed with the superior court if the trustee or one of the parties file a petition to bring a trust matter in front of the court. 

The will is lodged with the court.  In this case, Matt will lodge the original will with the Santa Clara County Superior Court.  Because assets are titled in and distributed through the trust, he does not need to open a formal probate administration to probate the will.  The will is merely lodged with the Santa Clara County Superior Court.

The trust administration does not require court oversight.  The trustee is the person who has the authority over the trust assets.  The trustee can make unilateral decisions over the trust assets.  The trustee must follow the provisions in the trust and the duties under California Probate Code.  The trustee reports to the beneficiaries. 

A trust does not require court administration but at times the trustee may want court oversight over the trust administration.  Two reasons can be due to family dynamics or hostile creditors.  While the trust administration does not require court supervision, the trustee or any other beneficiary can request court supervision or intervention.  

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