Fairfield, CA asked in Estate Planning for California

Q: I created a trust and put my assets in it (mutual funds) when I went to prison.

I'm out. And I would like to close or end or dissolve the trust, basically my buddy does not want to manage the trust now that I am out. What steps do I need to take. The trust was formed in CA.

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3 Lawyer Answers
James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • San Jose, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: If you want to terminate (revoke) the trust, just sign a simple letter to the trustee which says you hereby revoke the trust and to return all trust property to your management and control. If you want to keep the trust and simply change the trustee of the trust (from your buddy to you), again, a simple letter to the trustee which informs the trustee of your decision to remove and replace the trustee with you and to return all trust property to your management and control.

Howard E. Kane
Howard E. Kane
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Oakland, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Congratulations on finishing your time in prison. That must be a huge relief. Your ability to terminate the Trust in its entirety depends in part on whether or not the trust is revocable or irrevocable. In addition, revocation involves transferring property (such as real estate) out of the trust in the proper manner. In the case of real estate, a proper transfer involves a properly drafted Transfer Deed and other ancillary documents which get filed with the County Recorder. Bank accounts and other liquid assets have different transfer requirements.

Julie King
Julie King
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Monterey, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: There are different kinds of trusts, so the answer to your question will depend on two things: (1) what type of trust it is; and (2) the language in your specific trust document. As to the first question, the main issue is whether your trust is revocable, meaning changable and dissolvable, or if your trust is irrevocable, meaning it can only be changed under certain circumstances and/or a court order is required to change it. Read your trust to see what it says about changing the trustee. If you need assistance interpreting the language, which most non-lawyers do, then make an appointment with an attorney for assistance. [For those of you who may think lawyers draft documents in legalese simply to keep their jobs, please know there are legal reasons for using specific terms. If we change a term that has been used since before the United States was a country and instead use different words -- i.e., use plain English words instead of legal terms of art -- then we could be walking in unchartered waters because there is no set legal definitions for the words used and the only way we will know how they will be interpreted when challenged is to go before a judge and seek a ruling. Few lawyers like to take the chance that the language they draft will be interpreted differently than what was meant.]

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