Our 2020 Trust Administration, Probate & Conservatorship Department Team
WHAT IS TRUST ADMINISTRATION?
When a person creates a trust as part of their estate plan, there are steps that must be taken under the law in order to administer that document after they pass. If you have been named as a successor trustee, visit our For Successor Trustees page for an instructional video and downloadable guide. We offer successor trustees a no-cost initial consultation to go over the entire trust administration process. Contact our Sacramento estate planning office today to schedule your initial consultation and learn how our law firm can help you.
WHAT ARE THE STEPS INVOLVED IN A TRUST ADMINISTRATION?
Our firm offers an initial no-cost consultation for the successor trustee to discuss the trust administration process with one of our attorneys.
The trust administration process often includes tasks such as:
- Lodging the Will with the Court.
- Notifying creditors and potential creditors of the decedent’s passing.
- Notifying trust beneficiaries of the trust administration.
- Creating an inventory of all assets of the estate and their value.
- Taking control of the financial assets.
- Paying debts belonging to the estate.
- Selling or otherwise distributing trust assets, including real property.
- Preparing state and/or federal tax returns and any inheritance, gift and estate tax returns and pays any taxes due.
- If a spouse has passed and was named in Estate Planning documents, updating estate plan to name new successor trustees/agents.
- Distributing the assets of the estate to the beneficiaries.
We recommend that successor trustees seek the counsel of an experienced estate planning attorney to oversee the trust administration process, due to the significant potential for litigation if steps are not performed correctly.
HOW LONG DOES A TRUST ADMINISTRATION TAKE?
Most trust administrations can be completed in 3-6 months. Many factors could lengthen this time frame, such as selling real estate, contests to the trust, discovery of properties that were never transferred to the trust, and more.
SUCCESSOR TRUSTEE DUTIES TO BENEFICIARIES
Our firm teaches successor trustees how to fulfill their duties to beneficiaries as outlined within the Probate Code. Failure to learn and abide by these rules exposes the successor trustee to the possibility of being sued by the trust beneficiaries.
Here are just a few examples of a successor trustee’s duties to trust beneficiaries:
Probate Code Section 16009: Duty to Keep Trust Property Separate and Identified
A successor trustee may not mix trust assets with his/her own personal assets. All funds must be kept separate.
Probate Code Section 16003: Duty to Deal Impartially with Beneficiaries
A successor trustee must treat trust beneficiaries the same, without favoring one over another (unless authorized by the trust).
Probate Code Section 16007: Duty to Make Trust Property Productive
Trust assets must be invested productively, in a way that will result in reasonable growth with minimum risk.
We explain all of the rules of responsibility in depth when we assist with a trust administration. We train successor trustees how to execute their duties appropriately to limit the possibility of litigation.
Our firm undertakes Trust Administration representation on an hourly fee basis which is outlined in our retainer agreement. The total cost of a trust administration can range from $3,500 to $10,000, depending on the complexity of the work involved.
OUR SACRAMENTO TRUST ATTORNEYS CAN HELP YOU
Our staff has guided successor trustees through hundreds of trust administrations over the years. We strive to make this process as smooth and comfortable as possible during a difficult time of loss.
If you are a successor trustee and need to administer a trust, but do not know where to start, we can help. We offer a no-cost initial consultation in which we review the trust document, go over the process of trust administration, educate you on your duties, and review the steps involved in the trust administration process. Contact our Sacramento estate planning office today to schedule your initial consultation and learn how our law firm can help you.