Trust Administration

A Trustee has basic duties and requirements that must be fulfilled upon the death of a person who had a trust in place. These may include, but are not limited, to some of the following:

Fiduciary Responsibility

A trustee has a fiduciary duty to act reasonably responsible and carry out the provisions of the trust, such as:

  • Keep an inventory and accounting of trust assets, and provide it to beneficiaries upon request.
  • Pay debts and expenses of the estate.
  • Make reasonably responsible investments and accounting decisions.

Notice: a trust must send certain notices, some required by law and others recommend, such as:

  • Send required notices (i.e. Notice of Irrevocable Trust, Lodging Will, Notice to the Department of Health Care Services, Credit Reporting Agencies, Franchise Tax Board, etc.)
  • File necessary tax returns and pay any taxes due.
  • Distribute assets to beneficiaries as directed in the trust agreement.

Manage Assets

A trustee must keep track of, manage, and distribute assets accordingly. Assets includes anything of value owned by the decedent, such as:

  • Real Property: any real property owned must be updated to reflect the new successor Trustee, and then either sold and the proceeds paid to the trust, or transferred by deed to the beneficiaries. Additional documentation is required by the county whenever a person who owns real property passes away, and certain forms are required to avoid reassessment of the property and an increase in property taxes for certain types of transfers.

It is also important to obtain an “Date of Death” appraisal to avoid potential added capital gains taxes, depending on what will be done with the property.

  • Personal items
  • Bank accounts
  • Brokerage/investment accounts
  • Retirement accounts/pension benefits
  • Life insurance policies
  • Misc. assets
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