Pasadena Trust Administration Lawyers Assisting Trustee Clients Going Through the Trust Administration Process
Trusts are a popular estate planning tool to expedite the process of passing on assets to beneficiaries while keeping the estate out of probate. But how exactly does this happen and who is in charge of overseeing the process of transferring assets to beneficiaries after a trustor passes away? Our attorneys explain the trust administration process and how a trust administration attorney can be helpful for trustees to take the right steps and avoid costly mistakes.
What Is Trust Administration in California?
Trust administration is the process of distributing trust assets to beneficiaries after the person who created the trust dies. This is usually done after all creditors have been paid and after any pending taxes have been satisfied. The assets in the trust should be distributed according to the trust terms.
The trust administration process requires multiple steps and a significant amount of paperwork, as well as constant communication with the beneficiaries. A trust administration attorney can be essential for the trustee to streamline the trust administration process.
What Are the Roles and Responsibilities of a Trustee After the Trust Owner Dies?
It goes without saying that a trustee has a significant amount of responsibilities and is not just expected to act in a trustworthy manner, but he or she also has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the trust beneficiaries and comply with all the trust terms. In short, when you are a trustee, your main job is to carry out the terms of the trust.
This means as a trustee you will likely need to identify, inventory, and appraise all trust assets as well as protect any financial or tangible assets that beneficiaries may have a dispute over. You will have to notify beneficiaries and any creditors, pay off any outstanding debt and/or taxes on the estate, and distribute assets to beneficiaries according to trust terms.
Can Anyone Act as a Trustee or Successor Trustee?
Choosing a trustee is an important step that needs to be thought out carefully, as it is not an easy job and requires a lot of effort, dedication, and organizational skills from the person chosen to play this role. The only legal stipulation concerning trustees in California is that the individual must be a U.S. citizen over the age of 18 and with sound mental capacities. This means you may choose a member of your family or even a friend to be your trustee. It is recommended that you pick a trustee with the right skillset and basic business sense to manage your trust.
Another option is to appoint a corporate trustee, such as a financial professional or a trust administration attorney. If your estate is complex or if you are not confident that any person you know will be capable or qualified to handle the role of an individual trustee, you may assign all responsibilities to a professional who can better look after your interests.
How Can a Trust Administration Attorney Help?
Whether you are making plans to create a living trust or have been given the role of a trustee, working with an attorney can make a big difference in expediting the trust administration process while avoiding common mistakes that may lead to disputes, delays, and added costs. Individual trustees have a long list of requirements and responsibilities to fulfill, and it may be hard to know whether the next step you are planning to take is the right one, or where you should even begin.
At Barilari & Williams, LLP, our legal team is well-versed in all aspects of trust administration and can provide the guidance you need to successfully distribute all assets in a trust and fulfill your trustee duties with confidence and ease. In addition, trust owners can also leverage our knowledge and experience as professional trustees and have peace of mind knowing their interests and assets will be properly managed, protected, and distributed when the time comes. If you have questions about trust administration in California, contact us at 888-EST-PLAN.