trust_img3A common “mistake” is a party names the “Smith Family Trust” or if a probate, “Estate of Smith” as a party.  An estate is not a legal entity, it has neither the capacity nor the standing to sue and title to estate assets are held by the executor or administrator, who is the real party in interest. The administrator may therefore bring suit in his or her own name (please see Code of Civil Procedure §369(a)).  If an administrator brings suit in his or her own name, then the references to his or her capacity as administrator are not required. (See Lewis v. Adams, (1886) 11 P. 837, and Wise v. Williams (1887) 14 P. 204 Cal., and “under California law the “trust is not an entity separate from the trustees,” and “the trustee, rather than the trust, is the real party in interest in litigation involving trust property.” Moeller v. Superior Court (1997) 16 Cal. 4th 1124, 1132 n.3; 60 Cal.Jur.3d, Trusts § 355 (1994).

“A trust itself cannot sue or be sued. (Presta v. Tepper (2009) 179 Cal.App.4th 909, 914) “As a general rule, the trustee is the real party in interest with standing to sue and defend on the trust’s behalf. [Citations.]” (Estate of Bowles (2008) 169 Cal.App.4th 684, 691, 87 Cal.Rptr.3d 122.) “A claim based on a contract entered into by a trustee in the trustee’s representative capacity, … may be asserted against the trust by proceeding against the trustee in the trustee’s representative capacity ….” (Prob.Code, § 18004, italics added.)
89 A trust does not fall within the statutory definition of a judgment debtor. A judgment debtor is “the person against whom a judgment is rendered.” (§ 680.250.) A trust is not included within the definition of person. (§ 680.280.)”  See Portico Management Group, LLC v. Harrison (2011) 202 Cal.App.4th 464, 473