Trust Administration Lawyer Orange CA
If you’ve been named a trustee, you should contact a trust administration lawyer in Orange, CA, as soon as possible. Fortunately, qualified trust lawyers from Holborn Law are ready to help. Read on to learn more about trust administration and why you should always get in touch with a lawyer if you’ve been left in charge of someone’s trust.
I’M SOMEONE’S TRUSTEE. NOW WHAT?
Being a trustee takes a lot of hard work and commitment. It’s important to remember that you’ve been chosen to manage the trust of someone you care about: You’re in charge of fulfilling their last wishes and ensuring their beneficiaries get whatever assets are left to them. It’s also possible for you to be sued if you improperly manage the trust and fail to live up to your end of the bargain.
When you’re a trustee, you’re in charge of managing a trust and following the instructions to the letter. A trust administration lawyer from Orange, CA, can help you manage the trust while protecting you from legal liabilities. It’s common for people to get in touch with lawyers and CPAs when it’s time to administer a trust, and for good reason too.
TRUST ADMINISTRATION IS A DEMANDING PROCESS
Much like probate, trust administration involves tying up loose ends and distributing assets to beneficiaries. Fortunately, trust administration isn’t as painful as the probate process, and there’s usually much less room for familial infighting and drama. Don’t be fooled, though – as the trustee, you’ll have to stay on your toes to handle each step of trust administration, and if you make any serious mistakes, you could land yourself in legal hot water.
You need to take a few major steps when you administer a trust. Firstly, you’ll have to collect all the necessary documents and other paperwork for the trust. It seems like a simple task on the surface, but when you consider that you’ll need several copies of a death certificate, it gives you a better idea of what kind of hoops you’ll be jumping through.
Despite the frustration of bureaucracy, it’s important to remember why the paperwork matters. Paperwork gives you a better idea of what the grantor (the person who created the trust) would want after their death. It gives you a fuller picture of what assets are available for their beneficiaries. Once you gather the necessary paperwork, you’ll have to secure and assign a value to each asset, so it’s an unavoidable first step.
There are still more steps to take after collecting the paperwork and securing the assets. You’ll have to notify the beneficiaries (and stay in touch with them) and notify any creditors. You’ll have to settle any unpaid debts and pay final taxes. And you’ll have to pay off any final expenses, too – think of funerary expenses and cremation. It’s a lengthy process, and the number of questions that come up at each step can be mind-numbing. Fortunately, you can contact a trust administration lawyer who can help you navigate your way through the whole ordeal.
WHAT’S THE TIMELINE IN THE TRUST ADMINISTRATION PROCESS?
The overall timeline to complete the trust administration process can vary with each situation. For example, overseeing the trust of a married couple after one spouse passes away can typically be resolved in a few months as long as you do your due diligence and enlist the help of a trust administration lawyer in Orange, CA. However, settling a large trust with many beneficiaries is a more complex situation and can take a considerable amount of time. Some problems that may arise can include title problems, tax issues, or even disputes between beneficiaries and creditors.
Unfortunately, there’s no set timeline, and the process can take as little as a few short months or may take a couple of years. As a trustee, however, you can take steps to set a timeline and estimate administration costs by outlining a budget. Enlisting the help of a trust lawyer is also recommended.
HOW TO APPOINT A TRUSTEE?
The only requirements for a trustee in California are that they must be at least 18 years or older, of “sound mind” (usually determined by a court), and are a U.S. citizen to avoid tax complications. Since trusts are very common, the death of a trustee happens quite often. Luckily, trust deeds usually have a clause that either name a new trustee directly or stipulates a specific method for appointing a new trustee in case a trustee is unable to perform their duties due to death, incapacity, or lacking the necessary capabilities.
Appointing a trustee in the case of your passing away requires a lot of thought as the trustee will need to undergo specific responsibilities. It’s crucial then to appoint someone who will handle such a huge time commitment and is well-organized, and someone who will adequately take care of your estate/assets. Luckily, having a trust administration lawyer in Orange, CA, on board can help with the overall process.
When appointing a trustee, it’s common to appoint a beneficiary such as a spouse, child, etc. as a trustee. Sometimes even multiple children or family members can be appointed as trustees. Sometimes this isn’t recommended, however. It’s best to choose a trustee that’s capable of doing the job. In addition to having the necessary skills and time commitment to handle the trust, you also want someone who is honest. Unfortunately, there are many cases where trustees have embezzled money, mismanaged the estate, made asset distribution be delayed, or caused other problems.
Lastly, when considering a trustee, it’s also good practice to have at least one substitute trustee if something happens to your first choice. You may even name co-trustees for specific situations, such as when assets will go to a young adult. The young adult can be one trustee, while an older adult can act as their co-trustee.
REACH OUT TO HOLBORN LAW TODAY
Being the trustee means serious responsibility and potential legal trouble as well. Ensure you do the right thing by reaching out to a trust administration lawyer in Orange, CA, and see how Holborn Law can help.
Understanding Trust Administration and Its’ Benefits
Our trust administration lawyer in Orange, CA, is often contacted by grantors and trustees looking for more information regarding the management of trust accounts. While trusts are open until after a person passes away and assets are distributed, in other situations, trusts can be in operation for many years. Because of this, acting as a trustee over a trust can be a long-term commitment, one that may leave you considering whether working with a professional from Holborn Law is beneficial.
Developing an Estate Plan
Many people believe that having a will drawn up will have them covered. However, know that a will does not cover all aspects of planning for the end of life or incapacitation. Typically a will outlines the distribution of assets, an executor, and plans for children. While this is a good start to planning for the future, a more comprehensive estate plan is beneficial. An estate plan is comprised of several documents that can outline a person’s wishes while they are still living AND after they have passed on. Typically an estate plan includes:
- Healthcare Directives
- Power of Attorney
- Trust Accounts
- Beneficiary Designations
When a person engages in the estate planning process with an Orange, California trust administration lawyer, they can discuss their needs and clearly outline a healthy plan for the testator and their heirs.
Trusts are standard estate planning tools that can offer many benefits. Often these trusts assist testators in retaining control, clearly outlining distribution instructions, maximizing the inheritance for beneficiaries, protecting privacy, and even avoiding probate. Trust administration refers to the process of managing these types of arrangements. The person appointed as trustee holds a fiduciary duty and is responsible for protecting the trust’s assets and managing them per the testator’s wishes. Trust administrators can be the testator or a trusted party identified to carry this great responsibility and often includes the following obligations:
- Adhering to the terms of the trust
- Acting in the best interest of the trust (fiduciary duty)
- Managing conflict
- Distributing funds from the trust
- Filing tax returns for the trust
- Making prudent investments
It’s essential to know that trust management isn’t always straightforward and can quickly become complex. At times, it may be helpful to have a lawyer provide trust administration services to take on this significant undertaking.
Seeking Assistance from a Lawyer
Estate planning can be complicated, and a lawyer’s assistance can be helpful when pursuing this process. A lawyer will understand state and federal laws to ensure that the process is done correctly. When the estate plan includes a trust, you may consider assistance from a lawyer to ensure that the trust runs in the way it should. Trusts offer a variety of benefits that may be right for you and your family. In addition to the financial benefits, they can also help manage conflict that may arise. When a person passes away, the grieving family will be left to determine what happens next. Emotions often run high, which can be a catalyst for conflict. No person wants to see families argue over their final wishes. Having a clearly outlined estate plan and a trust administrator with experience from Holborn Law can help minimize complications. Schedule an appointment as soon as possible for a knowledgeable, reliable, and trustworthy trust administration lawyer in Orange, CA.