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Trust Administration

REAL QUICK: WHAT IS TRUST ADMINISTRATION?

Trust administration is where there is an existing trust that needs to be administered. It either needs to be administered because the person who created is unable to administer it or has passed away.

When there is an existing trust, it is very easy to administer it.

The person who is named as the successor trustee needs to take a few steps to activate the trust and install themselves as the successor trustee. If the person who created the trust dies, a death certificate is needed to activate the trust for the successor trustee. If the person who created the trust is unable to act, then a doctor is usually asked to certify that the person who created the trust is now incapacitated.

HOW CAN AN ATTORNEY HELP?

Every successor trustee has a duty to the trust, the trust beneficiaries and to carefully administer the trust. These are called fiduciary duties. There are also rules and laws that are in the California Probate Code on how to properly administer a trust. An attorney can be hired to represent you as the successor trustee to ensure that the trust administration is done properly and smoothly.

WHAT ARE COMMON ADMINISTRATIVE TASKS?

A successor trustee should prepare and record affidavits against real estate or real property owned by a trust to report that the original trustee has died or is unable to manage the trust. The successor trustee must also send proper notification to the county assessor’s office for property tax reporting.

A successor trustee must also inform persons involved in the trust under California Probate Code section 16061.7 by a properly prepared trust notification where a trust has been irrevocable due the death or incapacity of person who created the trust. This trust notification is required by law and protects the successor trustee from a possible contest to the terms of the trust.

TRUST ADMINISTRATION SUMMARY

A trustee’s job is to notify people, collect the trust assets, pay the trust debts and then distribute the trust assets according to the terms of the trust.

An attorney can advise you and steer you in the best direction for a basic trust administration.  Hiring an attorney to help you can save you money in the long run and is often not expensive compared to a probate where there is no arguing or fighting by trust beneficiaries.

In addition to basic Trust Administration services, our attorney are experienced in related matters including:

Trust Administration

  • Prosecution and/or Defense of a Trust Contest
  • Heggstad Petitions to Transfer Assets into a Trust Which Were Unintentionally Left Out
  • Financial or Physical Elder Abuse Claims and Restraining Orders
  • Litigation to Return Property Wrongfully Taken From or By a Trust or Estate (“850 Petition”)
  • Objections and/or Defense of Trust Fiduciary Accounting
  • No Contest Clause Litigation

TLD Law has a very unique capability in advising and representing individuals, families, private trustees/fiduciaries and business owners regarding their estate planning, trust administration and related litigation needs. TLD Law has created a TEAL team approach for these kinds of matters. TEAL stands for Trusts Estates Administration and Litigation. Our TEAL team consists of key partners in our Long Beach and Irvine/Newport office locations who work together to analyze and strategize the needs of our clients as they arise in this unique practice area. Since the firm’s inception in 1961, TLD Law is a known powerhouse in the estate planning, trust administration and probate field.

We appear weekly in the probate courts in Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino County and Riverside County. We also appear routinely in San Diego County probate courts as well. Do not let distance stop you from obtaining the best representation possible in this unique practice area.

We offer creative solutions and aggressive handling for trusts and estates matters being litigated in the Southern Californian courts.

To talk to a TEAL TLD Law attorney for any type of matter, please contact us for a consultation by calling (877) 923-0971 or emailing  estateplanning@tldlaw.com  today.

Trust Administration

Trusts are a wonderful creation under California law to help manage assets and real property without the need for probate or court supervision during the lifetime of the settlor (the person who created the trust) and when the settlor either becomes incapacitated or passes away – the successor trustee will then need to step in and activate the trust as a successor trustee.

TLD Law has a strong trust administration background helping clients and fiduciaries who are successor trustees to administer trusts of all kinds. We can prepare the required trust notification pursuant to the California Probate Code and prepare the same for proper legal service. We can also assist with clear title with the proper use of Affidavit of Death or Change of Trustee and Consent to Act by the successor trustee for real properties owned by a trust and this work includes the preparation of the preliminary change of ownership report, death of real property owner forms along with the appropriate real property tax exclusions where it applies from transfers of real property from parent to child or grandparent to grandchild.

In addition to the above, we assist successor trustees with their duty to marshal and distribute trust assets. We guide the successor trustees with legal issues and pull in the appropriate advisors for tax and other issues that may arise in a trust administration. TLD Law has helped thousands of successor trustees, whether they are a family member, loved one or fiduciary, to activate and properly administer a trust.

When the trust administration is complete, our attorneys will offer sage advice to how the assets should be best distributed and what kind of agreement or protection is needed for the successor trustee to prevent future disputes. We may advise the successor trustee to prepare a distribution agreement or seek court approval for the actions of the successor trustee in the administration.

It is important that the distribution and subsequent termination of the trust be handled correctly to avoid future problems from a greedy beneficiary.

Post Mortem administration of a trust often requires some or all of the legal steps below, including:

  1. Advising the trustee on each of his or her responsibilities.
  2. Preparing notices of administration, and advising the trustee as to who must receive these notices.
  3. Obtaining a tax id number for the trust, confirming that all assets are properly titled in the trust, and taking legal steps to have any problematic assets properly titled.
  4. Inventorying the assets of the deceased owner, and obtaining appraisals or date-of-death values for all assets.
  5. Preparing and filing any court proceedings needed to protect the trustee and beneficiaries from claims by creditors.
  6. Seeking court approval of the trustee\’s actions if the trust terms are unclear, or there is a dispute.
  7. Paying the creditors of the deceased.
  8. If the terms of the trust require it to be divided into separate trusts (typically, an estate trust and a survivor’s living trust), we will determine the best way to allocate the assets to obtain the maximum tax benefits, and will seek the trustee’s consent to our proposed division.
  9. Preparing accountings for the beneficiaries and a plan for distribution.
  10. Preparing deeds and other legal documents needed for distribution and transfer of the trust assets into the names of the persons who have inherited those assets.
  11. Referring you to an experienced estate accountant for preparation of Federal and California estate tax returns for estates valued above the statutory minimum, a final income tax return for the deceased, a trust income tax return at the end of the year, and a summary for the beneficiary tax returns.

Due to our TEAL team approach and years of experience, the attorneys at TLD Law can guide you best on your trust administration matter. If you have a trust administration matter, please contact us for a consultation by calling (877) 923-0971 or emailing estateplanning@tldlaw.com  today.

Trust Litigation

Most trusts and estates are handled without any conflict. There are times however when the person in charge does not administer the estate or trust appropriately causing frustration and delays. These cases often enter litigation where aggressive but intelligent representation is needed to protect the person in charge or to protect the beneficiary. The TEAL team approach at TLD Law has been designed to handle these kinds of matters quickly and as efficiently as possible for clients.

TLD Law handles all sorts of trust and estate litigation including elder abuse matters. We can vigorously defend or protect the interests of a person in charge or of the beneficiary. Our experience in routine drafting and trust administration makes our litigation attorneys skillful and extraordinarily knowledgeable in these kinds of matters.

There can also be uncontested litigation matters involving trust and estates. These matters include a Heggstad petition, a petition to determine entitlement or heirship, a petition for instructions to the trustee or a petition to approve an accounting. These are considered litigation as the court is involved to make a necessary ruling, but they are routine and our experience in analyzing these matters will help get them approved by the courts much easier.

For any trust matter, please contact TLD Law for a consultation.