What you need to know about administering a trust after a death

Probate in California is costly, time-consuming and public.

As a result, living trusts are an increasingly popular tool to avoid probate and maintain privacy.

However, following the death of a trustor (the person who created the trust), there is still a legal procedure to follow, and often an attorney, and perhaps an accountant, is involved. This process is known as a “trust administration” and includes following the terms of the trust and the laws governing trusts.

Our next four columns will focus on trust administration.

First step

When a trustor dies, the trustee of the trust has several duties to which they must attend. What is involved in a trust administration depends on who the beneficiaries are, the terms of the trust and the type of assets a trust holds. First, the trust terms should be reviewed carefully.

Notice of trust administration.

Next, there are notices to be given:

1: The will — usually called a “pour-over” will as it “pours” into the trust any assets not already in the trust — must be filed with the probate court within thirty days of the date of death. This does not start a probate process, but rather wards off anyone else starting probate with an older will.

2: Any beneficiary under the trust who is not also a trustee gets a specific notice under the Probate Code that informs the beneficiary that the trust exists, who the trustee is, and where the trust is being administered. The beneficiary is also informed that they have a right to a copy of the trust on request, and they have 120 days from receipt of the notice to file any claims objecting to the trust or any of its terms.

3: Heirs (the people who would inherit if there were no will or trust) are also entitled to the same notice as beneficiaries. In …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

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