We are experienced at ensuring our clients’ trust is properly managed from start to finish.
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At Business Estate & Tax Attorneys, P.C. we understand the unique demands of trust administration in California. Dealing with the passing of a loved one is enough to handle as is. Having to also act as a trustee for the estate can be daunting task, especially for a non-professional. You are not alone in this process. We combine our experience and substantive knowledge to make a trustee’s experience relatively smooth and cost-effective, as opposed to drawn-out, stressful, and expensive.
The most significant difference between the two documents is that a will only goes into effect after the settlor (person who wrote the will) dies.
A will goes into effect after a person’s death. The person creating a trust determines when it should go into effect. The trust might begin the distribution of the person’s property before, at the time of, or after their death.
The trust administration process consists of many steps designed to safeguard the assets of the trust. The first thing the trustee should do is evaluate the assets and determine the settlor’s wishes. They will require several copies of the settlor’s certified death certificate to complete these steps. Sometimes it takes as long as six weeks to receive these necessary documents.
A trustee must take the necessary steps to effectively administer the trust.
Secure & Value Assets
Once you understand the extent of the assets, it is your job as a trustee to secure and value them. Perform an initial inventory of the assets and value them based on the settlor’s date of death. These might include funds from life insurance or retirement accounts that go into the trust. You will need a copy of the certified death certificate to transfer or collect any assets.
Notify Beneficiaries and Creditors
Provide notice of a required probate code to all of the settlor’s trust beneficiaries and heirs. The trustee must send this notice within 60 days of the death of the settlor. The recipient then has a specified amount of time during which to file a contest. The time allowed depends on the jurisdiction.
Pay Debts, Taxes, and Final Expenses
This step transfers the real property from the settlor to their new trustees. In most cases, the trustee must file a change of ownership form at the same time. In the case where the trust transfers property from parents/children using any means other than property tax reassessment, the trustee must also file an exemption form.
After collecting the assets, paying any outstanding debts, filing any required tax returns, and fulfilling liabilities, the trustee should then distribute any assets remaining in the trust. The trust document lays out the order for how assets are to be dispersed to the beneficiaries. Some also specify the method by which the trustee distributes funds to specific beneficiaries