If you are serving as the successor trustee of a trust, you may be wondering how you begin the process of administering the trust. Below are a few pointers to consider:
- Read the trust document carefully. It is your instruction manual for what needs to be done and what authority you have as the trustee. It is important to refer back to the trust document throughout the administration process to ensure that you are abiding by its terms.
- Contact us. Working with a lawyer experienced in trust administration will provide you the advice and guidance you need to accomplish your tasks and avoid personal liability. We will provide you great peace of mind throughout the administration.
- File will. California law requires you to file the decedent’s will with the court for safekeeping, even if no probate case is going to be opened.
- Notice of intent. Pursuant to California Probate Code Section 16061.7, notice of intent to administer the trust must be sent to all beneficiaries and heirs of the settlors within 60 days of their death. You should provide a complete copy of the complete estate plan or a means for the recipient to request a copy of it with the notice. This notice is important because it starts the clock ticking on the recipient’s deadline to file a trust contest. If no contest is filed within 120 days of the notice mailing, the recipients may lose their right to file an objection. If no notice is mailed, the statute of limitations for filing a trust contest is much longer.
- Secure estate. A trustee has a duty to secure the estate and protect all trust assets. If the trust holds real property, we must take action to vest title in you as the successor trustee so you have the ability to manage, sell or distribute the real estate during trust administration. You must also transfer certain other trust assets, such as bank accounts, into your name as successor trustee. This can be a confusing and complex process, but we will guide you through it each step of the way.
If you have been appointed to administer a trust, you don’t have to go through this alone. We will do most of the “heavy lifting” and maintain an open line of communication throughout the entire process. Are you ready to enter the fee agreement? Call The Legacy Lawyers today if you have any questions: (714) 963-7543.