Contrary to popular belief, trusts do not automatically settle themselves and often require the assistance of a trust administration attorney. Beneficiaries often feel that since there is a trust, the trustee can immediately cut checks for each person’s share, ignoring the time it takes and statutory requirements that a trustee must satisfy before distribution can or should occur. Anyone involved with a trust at any level can benefit from the assistance of a skilled estate planning attorney in San Luis Obispo or on the Central Coast.
Trust settlements are very much like traditional probates except that they happen out of court and are generally faster and cheaper than probate. Our task as San Luis Obispo trust administration lawyers is to make sure that everything that is supposed to happen actually happens, at a reasonable cost and in a reasonable amount of time, all the while protecting the trustee from any personal financial harm that could occur if the trust is not properly administered.
Trust Administration Attorneys in San Luis Obispo Assist Trustees With the Following:
- We advise you about what your duties are—how to set up estate accounts, how to get the right insurance on estate assets, which tax returns need to be filed, and when.
- We advise you about who needs to get notice of administration of the trust and generate the required notices (yes, these notices may be required even for revocable trusts).
- We review titles to the decedent’s assets and determine which filings, court proceedings, or other steps are needed to put title in the trustee’s name. This is important since you cannot distribute or sell the assets if you do not own them.
- We prepare the accountings that you are required to give to the beneficiaries of the trust.
- We counsel you about how to handle investment assets. If there are substantial investment assets and you do not have a good investment advisor, we will recommend one to you.
- We advise on how to distribute the estate and prepare distribution agreements where required.
- We file the estate tax return when required.
- If you are a surviving spouse or domestic partner, we make recommendations on updating your own estate plan and making other changes that are needed because of your partner’s death.
We Help You Find the Right Team
Our services in these matters are closely coordinated with other professional advisors, including accountants, financial advisors, real estate brokers and appraisers, business valuators, and others as needed. Transfer tax reporting and asset allocations, for example, are typically reviewed in advance with the accountant who will prepare final income tax returns for the decedent and fiduciary returns for the estate.
In addition to representing trustees, our San Luis Obispo trust administration attorneys also represent beneficiaries of estates and trusts where, for example, they need help dealing with an executor or a trustee who isn’t settling an estate in a reasonable amount of time.
Speak with a San Luis Obispo Trust Administration Attorney
Death can be a very unsettling time, especially for those who are left to settle the decedent’s affairs. We do our best to get our clients and their families through the settlement process as smoothly as possible.
To learn more about settling a trust or the use of private professionals to administer a trust or estate, click on the links below or contact our office. Our San Luis Obispo trust administration lawyers are happy to walk you through your options.
Settling the Revocable Trust in California – a Guide for the Non-Professional Trustee
Use of Private Professional Fiduciaries