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Can an Attorney who prepares a trust for a client also be the successor trustee of that same Trust?

Long Beach, CA |

Can an Attorney who prepares a trust for a client also be the successor trustee of that same Trust because the client insists on this arrangement?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Please note that I am not a CA attorney, but in most states, the answer is yes, the attorney can be named as trustee. In fact, this is not a terribly uncommon arrangement, though my personal stance is that I never accept appointment as a trustee unless the person is family or has no other options. Generally, I would prefer to name a bank or trust company as successor trustee, but I have reviewed many trust agreements where the drafting attorney is named as a successor.

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    DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION PRESENTED HERE IS GENERAL IN NATURE AND IS NOT INTENDED, NOR SHOULD IT BE CONSTRUED, AS LEGAL ADVICE. THIS POSTING DOES NOT CREATE ANY ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN US. FOR SPECIFIC ADVICE ABOUT YOUR PARTICULAR SITUATION, CONSULT A QUALIFIED ATTORNEY.


  2. http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/waisgate?WAISdocID=84898310526+0+0+0&WAISaction=retrieve

    In California, an attorney who drafted the trust which names the attorney as trustee is subject to removal and no other reason is needed. See the above code 15642(b)(6)

    The attorney is "a person discribed" and you may search the sections listed here http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html

    To avoid this, the client must get a Certificate of Independant Review from a new attorney. The form of the certificate is in section 15642.


  3. As a VA attorney, I am unable to speak specifically to CA law. However, in VA, a drafting attorney can be named as a successor trustee in the trust instrument. Although, our State Bar requires such a drafting attorney to make certain disclosures to the client client, such as: 1) the client is not obligated to name the attorney as successor trustee, 2) there are other professional trustee options available (trust company, bank, CPA, another attorney), and 3) a current example of the attorney's typical fee schedule for such service.

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