Overview of Basic Trust Administration for Successor Trustee
Your primary duties as Trustee is to collect the trust assets, pay last illness and funeral expenses, just debts of the Settlor, and then distribute the assets in accordance with the trust provisions.
Depending on the nature and extent of the assets, sales of assets may be necessary or appropriate, as well as maintaining insurance on the Trust assets until distribution.
Main Legal Requirements:
- If you are the named Executor under the Will, see that the original Will is delivered (lodged) with the clerk of the Superior Court of the County of residence at time of death.This is supposed to be done within 30 days after death. [Probate Code §8200]. Currently there is a $50.00 fee to the Court clerk. Our office will assist you with this requirement.
- Give Notification to all heirs and beneficiaries, in accordance with Probate Code section 16061.7. Our office will prepare this Notification on your behalf.The purpose of the Notification is to inform the heirs of the decedent and beneficiaries of the Trust of the existence of the Trust, inform them of their right to obtain a copy of the terms of the Trust, and to set the time limit to contest the Trust (120 days from date of Notification or 60 days from date the trust terms are delivered to them, whichever is later).
- Obtain a TIN or EIN (taxpayer/employer identification number). Our office will obtain this for you.This number is assigned by the IRS. It is to be used by you for all trust transactions. (You cannot use the Settlor’s social security number, nor your own, as these accounts/assets are not personally owned by you.)
- You must keep track of all trust transactions, including receipts and disbursements, and provide the beneficiaries with an account of the trust activities, unless this requirement is waived. Usually the account is provided at time for distribution or within one year from death, whichever occurs first. We can assist you in the preparation of this account; however it is your responsibility to provide the information. Usually providing copies of all bank and investment statements and any check register will be sufficient to satisfy this requirement. Probate Code §16062.
Other Duties of Trustee:
As Trustee you are to see to the filing of all tax returns and the payment of all taxes. (We or your accountant will advise you fully about this requirement.)
You must plan to pay all real estate taxes when due. The first installment of real estate taxes on California real estate is delinquent on December 10th and the second installment is delinquent on April 10th.
This information is only to give you an overview of trust administration. We are here to serve you and assist you in each step. The most important point of this memorandum is to encourage your communication with us at all times so that the administration will proceed in a smooth and timely manner, and to your satisfaction.