Trust Administration Attorney in Thousand Oaks and Westlake Village, CA
What is Trust Administration?
When a person with a trust passes away, California law requires that certain procedures must be followed. Trusts, unlike wills, do not have to go through the probate process. This is one of the major benefits of a trust versus a will. Unfortunately, many people erroneously assume that if no probate is required, then nothing needs to be done when a trust’s creator dies. Nothing could be further from the truth and sadly this misperception could subject an unknowing successor trustee to personal liability. In many instances, the trustee who takes over administering the estate is a family member who is unfamiliar with all the relevant rules and requirements. While they have good intentions, they might lack the legal knowledge needed to appropriately administer the trust.
A successor trustee may also lack the time to properly administer a trust and may benefit from hiring an experienced trust administration lawyer to guide the process. Our firm has over 35 years of experience counseling clients through the trust administration process.
If you are a successor trustee and need administration assistance, contact a Thousand Oaks trust lawyer with Family Security Law Group, APC at (805) 496-4681 to schedule your complimentary 30 minute consultation.
Trust Laws and Required Procedures Must Be Followed
Many of the same procedures implemented in a probate are also utilized when administering a trust. As in a probate proceeding, trust administration requires an inventory and appraisal of the assets at the time of death, the payment of debts and taxes, and the distribution of the trust assets to the beneficiaries as directed by the terms of the trust.
Advantages of Trust Administration over Probate?
A major advantage of trust administration over probate is that it is private and can be conducted without any court involvement. In addition, the time to complete the administration is often much shorter than a probate and the cost for administering a trust may be less than for a probate.
What are the Trustee’s Responsibilities?
As a fiduciary, a successor trustee bears significant responsibility, which starts with notifying the beneficiaries of the trustor’s death-using a specific format set forth in the California Probate Code. Additionally, the trustee is responsible for establishing the trust as a new taxpayer, filing and paying taxes on the descendant’s behalf and accounting for all trust assets as well as income and expenses.
The trustee is also charged with responsibility for analyzing the validity of any creditor claims and responding to such claims in a timely manner and paying any valid debts.
A trustee is also responsible for distributing the trust assets according to the terms of the trust, as well as funding and managing any sub-trusts created by the trust. A trustee’s fiduciary duties must be complied with at all times otherwise a trustee is at risk for potential liability for failing to act diligently and in good faith.
Handling the administration of a trust entails complicated and often deadline-driven legal and financial issues. The appointed trustee is a legal fiduciary and is duty bound to properly administer the trust pursuant to the trust’s terms and California state law. Our law firm has developed a proprietary system for efficiently handling all aspects of a trust administration which our clients have found extremely beneficial. Please give us a call so we can help you.
Our trust attorneys serve Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, Moorpark, Camarillo, Simi Valley, Agoura and other cities throughout Ventura County and Los Angeles County and have been helping clients administer trusts for over 35 years.
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