Upon the death of a trust maker, the Bergman team offers trust administration services to your successor trustee. The trustee is responsible for seeing that the assets of the trust are distributed properly and in a timely manner.
A living trust is a legal document that, just like a will, contains your instructions for what you want to happen to your assets when you die. But, unlike a will, a living trust can avoid probate at death, control all of your assets and prevent the court from controlling your assets if you become incapacitated.
An overview of the valuable guidance we provide includes:
- Review of the trust document
- Gathering of all trust assets
- Explanation of trustee responsibilities
- Estate Tax Analysis
- Collection of death benefits
- Creation of sub-trusts
- Dissolution of trust
What is a trustee?
The trustee is the person (or people) who holds legal title to the property that is in the trust. The trustee’s job is to manage the property in the trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries in the way the settlor has asked.
What powers does a trustee have?
A trustee has all the powers listed in the trust document, unless they conflict with California law or unless a court order says otherwise. The trustee must collect, preserve and protect the trust assets.
To do this, the trustee can ordinarily:
- make reasonable repairs,
- insure the property,
- sell assets,
- make prudent investments,
- pay certain administrative bills and expenses, and
- make distributions and payments to the beneficiaries according to the trust document.
What duties does a trustee have?
The law says that in general the trustee must:
- Do what the trust document says as long as it is legal;
- Do only things that benefit the beneficiaries;
- Not favor one beneficiary over another;
- Avoid conflicts of interest with the beneficiaries
- Never use trust property or the trustee’s powers for personal benefit, unless the trust authorizes it;
- Keep trust property separate from property owned by anyone else;
- Not delegate to others anything they can reasonably do themselves (if the trustee must delegate some duties, s/he must supervise what the delegated person does);
- Administer and invest the assets of the trust with reasonable care and skill to protect the trust and to accomplish the purposes of the trust as determined from the trust instrument;
- Diversify investments unless under the circumstances it would not be prudent to do so;
- Keep detailed records and give periodic reports and/or accountings to the beneficiaries as required by California law.
Contact an Experienced California Trust Administration Attorney
If you lost a loved one California trust administration is a process to assist in sending out legal notifications to each person named in the trust and timely filing of tax forms while managing your assets, paying off creditors, and distributing the assets in your trust estate to your beneficiaries. It’s important to get the right assistance because failure to comply with California trust laws can lead to repercussions for beneficiaries, and successor trustees’ action or inaction.
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