At the Law Offices of Jack B. Friedell, we can guide an existing Trustee through the Trust Administration Process or simply take over the Trust administration on behalf of a Trustee who either does not have the time and/or desire to administer the trust. We offer as much or as little help as requested. Therefore, you will either receive a road map for a California trust administration, a step by step guide, or we will simply do it for you.
Some of our California Trust Administration services include the distribution of the trust assets, counsel for the existing trustee, counsel and advice regarding beneficiary rights, administration of the Trust per the California Probate Code, counsel for the surviving spouse on the division of trust assets for an A B Trust or Disclaimer Trust, and the evaluation and advisement on tax treatment for IRAs and 401(K) distributions.
California Trust Administration
Trust administration can be a daunting process for a trustee to undertake. It is important that the trustee follow the guidelines set forth in the California Probate Code. Failure to properly administer the trust can expose the trustee to personal liability. Therefore, working with an attorney who can guide you through the trust administration process can save you a lot of time and needless worry.
The first order of business is to give notice to the beneficiaries of the trust and heirs at law within 60 days of the death of the settlor. There are various requirements that must be adhered to when giving notice.
Identify and Collect Trust Assets
The next step would be to identify and collect the trust assets. The trustee will need to contact the IRS to obtain a federal tax identification number. Real property may need to be sold or managed. Other assets, such as bank accounts, will need to be transferred to the trustee. The trustee will need to inventory all the assets and have certain assets, such as paintings, appraised.
Pay Debts and Taxes
It is the trustee’s responsibility to pay from the trust assets all valid debts and income tax due. If the estate exceeds the current exemption amount ($5,340,000 in 2014) then federal estate taxes will also be due on the estate.
The trustee is responsible for keeping accurate records of any transactions of the trust because the trustee typically will provide an accounting to the beneficiaries of the trust.
The last step in the process is the distribution of the trust assets. The trust will provide instructions on how the assets are to be distributed to the beneficiaries.
Throughout the trust administration process the trustee has certain fiduciary requirements that the trustee must keep. Among the duties of a trustee are the: Duty of Care, Duty to Administer the Trust, and Duty of Loyalty.
To consult with an experienced California Trust Administration attorney who can advise you on the administration of an estate in California, contact the Law Offices of Jack B. Friedell today.