Many people mistakenly believe that once they have created and funded a trust it will take effect “automatically” when the time comes. This is not the case. For a trust to carry out the wishes of the person who made it, the trust must be administered. This can involve lodging the will with the California Probate Court and tax filings with the state of California and the IRS. In addition, the law requires that trust beneficiaries and others must be notified of the decedent's passing. Other duties can include opening bank accounts, obtaining a new tax ID number, settling creditor claims, arranging for the sale of assets, paying the decedent's final expenses, and more. Proper accounting methods must be maintained and provided to beneficiaries.
Failure to administer a trust properly can have serious legal and financial consequences for the trustee. This is why the decision to serve as trustee should not be taken lightly. If you have been asked to do so, we can explain the steps involved and the potential risks for improperly administering the trust in clear, easy-to-understand language. We can also help you select the appropriate person to serve as trustee if you decide not to accept this responsibility, and guide the trustee every step of the way. We can also work closely with your existing advisors and other personal representatives to ensure the directives of the trust are carried out appropriately.
Contact us today to learn how we can assist you during this difficult time in your life.