Davis Trust Administration Lawyer

What Is Trust Administration?

While the probate process can be avoided through the use of a trust, many individuals, particularly the surviving spouse, often fail to realize that the trust needs to be administered after the first spouse passes away and again after the second spouse passes away. For individuals who are not married, the trust needs to be administered upon the death of the settlor or creator of the trust.

If the successor trustee of the trust contacts an attorney immediately upon the death of a settlor or creator of a trust, it is often possible to avoid or reduce estate taxes. If this is not done and the trust is not administered correctly, then extra fees and estate taxes may be incurred unnecessarily.

When you serve as trustee, you have many legal obligations to the beneficiaries of the trust. If you fail to retain a competent estate planning attorney, you may not meet your obligations to the beneficiaries, and this could be a costly mistake.

What Are Trustees?

As a trustee, you are responsible for administering the deceased's trust assets in accordance with the terms of the trust. Trustees are held to high legal standards. Because they are fiduciaries — that is, they bear responsibility for managing the property of another. Trustees cannot use trust property for their own self-interest. Instead, they must act in the best interests of the trust's beneficiaries (the people or organizations designated in the trust to receive the assets).

What Are The Duties Of The Trustee?

California law imposes numerous other duties on trustees. For example, they must comply with complex notice and other requirements within strict time frames. The trustee also manages the trust assets and may be required to provide regular accountings to the beneficiaries. Other duties include:

  • Maintaining detailed and accurate trust records
  • Making distributions in accordance with the trust's terms
  • Filing appropriate tax returns
  • Safeguarding the trust assets
  • Exercising diligence, skill and caution in managing the trust

Professional legal guidance is essential for navigating this maze of legal requirements.

Trustees carry weighty legal burdens. You can be held personally liable for missteps or violations of your fiduciary duties. With the help of an attorney, you can rest assured that you have fulfilled your duties accurately and completely.

Following the loss of a loved one, swift deadlines may apply for beginning the trust administration process. It is important to act quickly in seeking the legal guidance you need to perform your duties.

Get Experienced Legal Guidance | Contact Us

At the Law Office of Laura Stodden Parker, we devote our practice exclusively to trust administration, estate planning, probate and related areas of law — and have done so for more than 15 years. For experienced and knowledgeable legal guidance, contact us at 530-792-1559. Our Davis-based trust administration lawyer serves clients throughout Yolo County and statewide.