A living trust is legal device wherein a trust creator (settlor) can put assets and funds while they are alive for the benefit of named beneficiaries. When the settlor passes away, the trust has to go through something called a trust administration. If you have a California trust its important to know: What is a California trust administration?
California Trust Administration
A trust will have a named trustee who is responsible for safeguarding trust assets and making trust disbursements. When the settlor dies, the trustee is also responsible for taking certain steps regarding its administration. The facts and circumstances surrounding the trust will dictate how long the process will take. Some trust administrations are relatively simple and will last only a few months, while others that involve several beneficiaries can take much longer to complete.
The Trustee’s Responsibilities
The trustee’s first responsibility is to establish clear communication with the trust beneficiaries and the settlor’s heirs. The trustee must give official notice to these individuals by law. Once notified, any party wishing to contest the trust will have 120 days to do so. Although California law does not require the trustee to notice creditors, there can be situations where he or she can be held personally liable for non-payment. For this reason, a trustee may also choose to notice creditors.
- The trustee must account for and identify all trust assets and is responsible for safeguarding them. The trustee has a fiduciary duty to the trust that will continue throughout the administration process. Meaning that he or she must continue to make prudent investments and decisions regarding assets.
- The trustee needs to obtain title to all trust assets. California law requires the successor trustee to have title to eventually transfer the assets to the trust’s beneficiaries.
- The trustee will also arrange for any necessary appraisals. If there are qualifying debts, the trustee must pay the creditors and file all necessary tax returns. After these tasks are completed, the trustee will prepare a trust accounting.
- Once all of these tasks are completed, the trustee can distribute assets according to the trust document terms.
Contact and Experienced Trust Administration Attorney
Trust administrations are complicated and when done improperly can result in significant financial consequences for beneficiaries and potential liability for the trustee. Therefore, it’s crucial to seek the advice of an experienced attorney who understands California trust administration. At the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo, we are knowledgeable and experienced California estate planning and trust administration attorneys with the experience you need to manage all of your trust needs. Contact us today to schedule your consultation. https://www.salvolaw.com/contact/