As a lawyer with extensive trust administration experience in Orange County, I have seen that the death of a loved one, especially if that person is a spouse or parent, is one of the most difficult periods in a person’s life.
Besides dealing with your own grief and loss, you then have to worry about administering your loved one’s estate—which can seem a terribly overwhelming task.
That is why many beneficiaries or trustees choose to “leave things the way they are” and ultimately take no action regarding the administration of their loved one’s estate.
Again, overwhelm is one reason for this, but beneficiaries or trustees also hesitate to administer their loved one’s estate out of fear they will encounter expensive legal costs, endless probate, or tax situations they may not be equipped to handle.
Whatever the reason, people have been known to delay for months, or even years on this.
As a trust lawyer in Orange County, part of my job is making sure my client is thoroughly informed about what to realistically expect from the trust. Most clients appreciate that assets held in trust are much easier to administer and distribute after death, but they also need to know that they are required by law to do many things before the distribution of assets can occur.
These requirements and obligations often vary from state to state, but in California some of the requirements include:
- Notifying beneficiaries;
- Valuation and Liquidation of Assets;
- Paying Debts and Taxes of the Trust;
- Filing Tax Return;
- Distribution of Remainder of the Assets to Beneficiaries.
The trustee also has to follow the accounting and reporting requirements of the state and courts, and they are responsible for defending the trust against all claims of creditors or excluded heirs.
I know it sounds like a lot—and in reality it is if you are not familiar with the process.
That’s why for many people, having a lawyer who handles trust administration on their side can make this difficult time go more smoothly and ease the administrative burden of having to close out a loved one’s estate.
Of course if you are now in this position and would like further information about how our Orange County probate and trust administration firm can help you during this difficult time, please feel free to give our office a call at (949) 260-1400 and ask if you qualify for a complimentary consultation.