Trustee & Executor Duties and Obligations
Experience and Guidance with Your Probate and Trust Responsibilities.
The trustee of a living trust has duties similar to those of an executor in probate. To satisfy their legal obligations to the beneficiaries, trustees and executors are responsible for a number of crucial tasks:
- Locate decedent’s records to understand the estate’s assets, liabilities, income, and expenses.
- Prepare a detailed list of property for record keeping.
- Notify all the beneficiaries and heirs of their right to receive a copy of the terms of the trust.
- Open a trust bank account to manage finances.
- Manage investment accounts and other assets prudently, including keeping needed property and liability insurance in place.
- Procure professional valuations of real estate and other high-value property.
- Notify the appropriate governmental agencies and pension administrators.
- Pay decedent’s debts and expenses using the trust bank account or other available funds.
- Understand the trust’s design and how property is to be transferred.
- Transfer of decedent’s property according to the trust (including real property deeds).
- Notify the county assessor of the change in real estate ownership within 150 days of death.
- Prepare and file the decedent’s final federal and state income tax returns for income and deductions occurring before death.
- Prepare and file California and federal income tax returns for the trust reporting post-death income and deductions.
- Decide how to allocate assets, in full or in part, among the sub-trusts or beneficiaries.
- Prepare periodic written status reports to the beneficiaries.
- Manage, or divide and distribute, the decedent’s retirement accounts.
- Prepare an accounting of all income, disbursements, and accrued expenses for the beneficiaries to review.
- Prepare and file a federal estate tax return, if required, and make necessary tax-related elections.
Don’t let the duties of being an executor or trustee overwhelm you. Not every item on the list above may be required for your matter. We can guide you through the process. Call our office to better understand your specific situation and to see how we may be able to assist you.