When properly designed and adequately funded, trusts can accomplish a wide range of estate planning goals. Many people mistakenly believe that once they have created a trust and that it has been funded, the trust will just take effect “automatically” when the time comes. This is not the case at all. For a trust to carry out the wishes of the person who made it, the trust must be administered.
At Desert Law Group, the majority of our trust administration clients are also our estate planning clients. However, we do administer trusts on behalf of people who had their trust drafted by another attorney. In both situations, our goal is to make the administration process as uncomplicated, convenient and worry-free as possible.
When a loved one passes away with a trust in place, there are number of steps that need to be taken so the trust can be administered. These steps include filing the Last Will and Testament with the California Probate Court, and tax filings with the California Franchise Tax Board and the Internal Revenue Service. In addition, the law requires that certain people must be notified. Other duties can include obtaining a new tax ID number, opening bank accounts, settling creditor claims, paying the decedent’s final expenses, arranging for the sale of assets, and more. Proper accounting methods must be scrupulously maintained and provided to beneficiaries.
Failing to administer a trust properly, in accordance with the law, can have serious financial and legal consequences for the trustee. This is why the decision to serve as trustee should not be made in haste or taken lightly. If you have been asked to do so, we can explain the steps involved in the process, and the potential risks for improperly administering the trust, in clear, easy-to-understand language. As Palm Springs trust lawyers, we can also help you select the appropriate person or persons if you decide not to accept the role of trustee yourself, and guide them every step of the way. We can also work closely with any of your existing advisors and other personal representatives to ensure the directives of the trust are carried out accurately and appropriately.
Call us for an office consultation to learn how we can assist you during this difficult time in your life.