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.


Disclaimer: The materials available at this web site are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Web site or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between Law Offices of Daniel An, PC and the user or browser. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.