Petition to Confirm Beneficiaries of a Trust

  1. When Your Beneficiary Organizations As Named Do Not Exist in California 
  2. Probate Code Section 17200

When Your Beneficiary Organizations As Named Do Not Exist in California 

I was presented with an unusual issue recently that I was able to resolve successfully. A client who was successor trustee of a trust came to me for help in assisting him with a trust administration. The trust named beneficiaries that were charitable organizations; however, the names of the charitable organizations did not match any registered organization in California. The names came close however. Unfortunately, the estate planning attorney for the decedent failed to research and confirm the exact names of the organizations.

What do you do in this situation? Should you proceed with the trust administration and distribute assets to the charitable organizations whose names come close? The answer is obviously no. 

Probate Code Section 17200

The proper procedure is to file a petition with the Probate Court in the proper jurisdiction under Probate Code section 17200. Probate Code section 17200 provides:

Except as provided in Section 15800, a trustee or beneficiary of a trust may petition the court under this chapter concerning the internal affairs of the trust or to determine the existence of the trust. Proceedings concerning the internal affairs of a trust include, but are not limited to, proceedings for any of the following purposes: … (3) Determining the validity of a trust provision. (4) Ascertaining beneficiaries and determining to whom property shall pass or be delivered upon final or partial termination of the trust, to the extent the determination is not made by the trust instrument.

If you need assistance with the same or similar scenario, please do not hesitate to contact Law Offices of Daniel An, PC today.

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Daniel is a South Bay native and veteran of the United States Marine Corps. As a Marine, Daniel served four years active duty in the infantry (3d Battalion, 3d Marines and 3d Battalion, 4th Marines), and was recognized for his service by two separate commanding officers, receiving commendations and awards. Daniel also served as acting platoon sergeant, leading a platoon of marines while stationed at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twenty-Nine Palms, California. After his service, Daniel attended the University of California, Berkeley where he graduated with a B.A. in Political Science...

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