While a comprehensive estate plan may save you from the probate process, your heirs will still ultimately have to address trust administration, including:
When the creator of a trust dies, the trustee has certain duties to carry out. These duties can seem complicated, and they include the collection and management of the trust assets, the resolution of debts and claims, and the filing of the necessary individual and fiduciary income tax reports and federal estate tax return – and prompt payment of taxes – if required.
In carrying out these duties, a trustee is held to a high standard of care. For example, a trustee has the duty of impartiality and loyalty to the beneficiaries and to the trust, the duty to account, the duty to preserve the trust assets and make them productive, and the duty to abide by the terms of the trust and allocate or distribute the assets accordingly.
Moreover, a trustee is prohibited from self-dealing and commingling trust and personal assets. In the event a trustee violates one or more such duties or prohibitions, even if done so unintentionally, the trustee can be held personally responsible for any loss to the trust, and, as a result, the trustee’s personal assets are subject to satisfying the loss.
We can assist a trustee in understanding and carrying out his or her duties and responsibilities in administering a trust in accordance with California law. Also, in most trust administrations, the legal fees are paid by the trust, not the trustee, and the legal fees may be tax deductible.
Contact us today for a Free 20-Minute Consultation to find out more about the trust administration services we offer.