Q: .Sister filed a petition to administer the estate. Property in a living trust with me as successor trustee.
Under California law, if the property is held in a living trust and you are the designated successor trustee, your role is to manage and distribute the trust's assets according to the trust document's terms. This is typically outside the scope of probate, meaning the court-supervised process for administering a deceased person's estate may not apply directly to these trust assets.
Your sister's petition to administer the estate may still be relevant for assets not included in the trust. It's important to distinguish between assets that are part of the trust and those that are part of the estate. The latter may require probate and could be subject to the petition your sister filed.
As the successor trustee, you have fiduciary responsibilities. These include managing the trust's assets prudently, following the trust's terms, and acting in the best interests of the beneficiaries. If there's a conflict between the trust's instructions and your sister's petition, it's advisable to seek legal guidance to navigate these complexities.
Remember, the specifics of the trust document and the full context of the estate are crucial in determining the right course of action. It might be wise to consult with a professional who has experience in trust and estate law to ensure you're fulfilling your duties correctly and addressing your sister's petition appropriately.
A: If the person who named you in their trust has passed away and you are listed in their trust as the first successor trustee, you should be the trustee unless your sister's petition is successful. No one can successfully petition the court to take over a deceased person's estate simply because they don't like the decision that the deceased person made in selecting a successor trustee. Rather, to successfully challenge the appointment a trustee, the challenger would to show fraud, undue influence, self-dealing or another improper action. If you want to oppose your sister's petition, you should hire an attorney who handles contested probates. Best wishes.
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