Trust and Estate Administration
Ensuring a Trust’s Provisions Are Followed.
When the creator of a living trust dies, the successor trustee must step in to carry out the trust’s instructions and perform certain tax-related functions. If a living trust has been properly designed, funded, and updated, post-death estate administration will usually be a relatively smooth process.
What “Trust Administration” Entails
This umbrella term includes many different and vital tasks such as: notifying beneficiaries and heirs of the trust; inventorying and appraising trust assets; handling ancillary probate matters (spousal property petitions, “Heggstad” petitions, and independent administration petitions); funding sub-trusts; making distributions; and complying with estate, gift, income, and real property tax requirements.
The goals of trust administration are to:
- Properly divide and distribute the estate according to the trust’s terms and the wishes of the trust’s creator.
- Comply with California law on trustee’s duties and trust administration, including prudent financial management.
- Develop a plan to meet the financial needs of the long-term beneficiaries.
- Assist in the compliance with tax laws while minimizing taxes payable, which involves the “big five”: estate, gift, income (capital gain), generation-skipping, and real estate taxes.