Albertson & Davidson, LLP

Located in southern California, Albertson & Davidson has focused on trusts, wills, and probate for abused beneficiaries since their founding in 2008. Their skilled team of seven has helped recover millions in estate litigation cases. With extensive courtroom experience the firm prides itself on navigating complex and emotionally charged legal issues.

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When a person dies, the decedent’s loved ones must deal with the decedent’s property. The first question the decedent’s family members need to ask is: did the decedent have an estate plan in the form of a Will or a Trust? If the decedent did have an estate plan, the terms of the Will or Trust will govern who is entitled to receive the property. If the decedent did not sign a Will or Trust before passing, the decedent’s property may be distributed to the family members is accordance with the State’s intestacy laws. Wills and Trusts are administered…
Entering the world of Wills, Trusts and probate can be confusing. One of the first questions people often ask is: what is the difference between a Trustee and an Executor? To put it simply, a Trustee is the person who oversees a Trust, while an Executor is the person who oversees a Will, which often involves going to probate court. A major difference between a Trustee and an Executor is the amount of authority and discretion each position has. Both Trustees and Executors are legally required to follow the terms of the Trust or Will and make distributions to the…
California Trustees can charge reasonable fees for their services. The amount considered reasonable varies depending on the circumstances. Professional fiduciaries typically charge a certain percentage of the total value of the Trust assets (usually around 1%), while layperson Trustees (such as family members) often charge by the hour (typically around $30-$80). Trustees’ fees also depend on the amount of work it takes to administer the Trust. Some Trusts are more complex than others. If administering the Trust involves selling multiple properties or high-value investing, the Trustees fees will likely be higher than a liquid-asset only Trust in which the Trustee…
Minors in California (people under the age of 18) cannot own assets directly. Minors must own assets through a guardian. However, minors can be Trust beneficiaries. Typically, when a Trust is established with minor beneficiaries, the Trust terms require the minors’ shares to be held in Trust rather than distributed outright. Trust shares for minor beneficiaries are typically held in the Trust until the beneficiary reaches a certain age. Often, the young beneficiary’s Trust share is distributed in increments rather than an outright distribution. The Settlors who created the Trust have discretion on the specific terms of distribution for minor…
How do Trust beneficiaries know how much they are entitled to? Often, rather than stating a specific dollar amount for each beneficiary, the Trust will state that each beneficiary is entitled to a certain percentage of the Trust estate. This can cause frustration if the Trustee will not provide the value of the Trust assets. Trust beneficiaries who are kept in the dark have a right to ask for information. In many cases beneficiaries can demand an accounting from the Trustee. Trust beneficiaries should review the Trust terms for any specific provisions regarding accountings. Some beneficiaries have a mandatory right…
Who is liable for Trust debts? Is it the Trustee, the Beneficiaries, or the Trust itself? It helps to remember that a Trust is a separate legal entity. The Trustees and beneficiaries are not personally liable for debts owed by the Trust. The Trustee is acting in a fiduciary capacity. The Trustee is required to gather the assets and pay the Trust debts. If the Trust does not have enough money to pay the debts, the creditors are out of luck. Creditors do not have the right to go after the Trustee or Beneficiaries’ personal assets. Who gets paid if…
How does a Trustee resign? By following the procedure in the Trust document. The Trust terms usually contain a resignation procedure to follow. The Trustee typically must give notice to the beneficiaries and to the new Trustee. This notice can be drafted by a Trust administration attorney. If there is no resignation provision, the Trustee must follow the California Probate Code (CCP). California Probate Code Sections 15640-15645 govern the procedure for Trustee removal. What happens when the beneficiaries cannot agree on a successor Trustee? The Trustee can file a Petition in Probate Court for resignation. The Court will typically appoint…
Generally speaking, inheritance is not subject to tax in California. If you are a beneficiary, you will not have to pay tax on your inheritance. There are a few exceptions, such as the Federal estate tax. However, an estate must exceed $11.58 million dollars per person in 2020 to be subject to estate tax in the U.S. The estate tax is paid out of the estate, so the beneficiaries will not be liable for paying the estate tax, technically speaking—although it would deplete the amount left in the estate for distribution. With the exception of the estate tax for estates…
A Trust is an entity that hold assets. Living Trusts are set up to benefit the Trust creators, (also referred to as the “Settlors,” or “Grantors,”) during their lifetimes. Living Trusts also provide the terms for management and distribution of the assets once the Grantors pass away. Living Trusts are typically drafted by an estate planning attorney. Once the terms of the Trust are established, the assets are transferred into the Trust. For example, if the Grantors own a home, the home will be legally transferred into the name of the Trustee; the Grantors will sign a deed transferring the…
How do you replace a Trustee? The answer depends on the language in your Trust document. Most trusts have a specific section that outlines the procedure in which a Trustee can be replaced. Some Trustees step down willingly. In certain instances, you can have a Trustee sign a document called a Resignation by Trustee, and have the new Trustee sign a document called an Appointment or Acceptance of Trustee. This is the easiest method. An attorney who handles estate planning can typically draft these documents for you. Most Trusts name a specific person or entity to take over as the…