Because of the costs and delays associated with probate proceedings, many individuals elect to establish living trusts. In addition, a variety of other trusts can achieve a number of objectives such as protecting assets, providing for loved ones with special needs, or planning for long-term care. While a trust is not probated in court like a will, there are legal requirements associated with administering a trust. In addition, those who have been named as trustees have a legal obligation to properly manage the trust assets. From its offices in San Mateo, Biddle Law provides trust administration advice and counsel to trustees and successor trustees to ensure they fulfill their fiduciary duties and other legal obligations.
What is trust administration?
When an estate plan establishes a trust, a trustee and a successor trustee are named to administer the estate after the death of either one or both grantors. This process can be daunting for many individuals who are named as trustees. They are deemed to be fiduciaries which puts them in position of trust with the beneficiaries.
Some of the duties of trustees include:
- Notifying interested parties of the grantor’s death so that any contests may be filed
- Inventorying trust property and transferring property into the trust
- Obtaining tax ID numbers
- File estate tax returns
- Trust accounting
- Distributing the assets
Because trustees are legally liable for mistakes or misdeeds, it is essential for them to be competent and trustworthy. Moreover, the trust administration process can become complicated by conflicts that arise among the beneficiaries. In order to navigate these complexities, it is essential to have the superior legal representation that our firm is uniquely qualified to provide.
What is judicial accounting?
The responsibility of trustees includes preparing fair and accurate accountings that verify the assets are being handled properly. Generally, all actions that a trustee has taken must be disclosed to the beneficiaries. In particular, trustees must maintain adequate records of beneficiary distributions and ensure that bills are paid, checking accounts are reconciled and tax returns are prepared.
While trusts are typically administered by independent proceedings, the courts can require that an accounting receives judicial oversight and approval. A proper judicial accounting will include the following items:
- A listing of the receipts, disbursements, and distributions from the trust or estate
- A listing of the trust or estate
- The services being provided to the beneficiaries
- The significant actions taken by the fiduciary
- The compensation requested and the reasonable and necessary expenses incurred
- An annual inventory of any item of tangible personal property
- Any other information requested by the court
Our attorneys have expertise in the state requirements related to judicial accounting of trusts and estates, and routinely advises trustees in preparing financial inventories and responding to court inquiries.
Dedicated Trust Administration Attorney in San Mateo
Biddle Law routinely advises trustees, successor trustees, as well as beneficiaries in the trust administration process in California. Our estate planning attorneys work closely with clients through every phase of the process to ensure that trusts are being administered appropriately. We are well versed in assessing the value of trust assets, the related tax issues, and the procedures for notifying beneficiaries and distributing the trust assets.
Most importantly, we protect our clients legal interests by helping them avoid conflicts and fulfill their fiduciary obligations. In the event that a dispute arises, we will work diligently to negotiate a resolution or if necessary, litigate the matter in court. If you need assistance with administering a trust or have questions on any trust-related matter, contact our office for a consultation!
Contact Our San Mateo County Trust Administration Lawyer
Biddle Law proudly serves the areas of San Mateo County, Burlingame, Foster City, San Carlos County, Redwood City and Belmont, California. Give us a call to speak with our experienced trust administration attorney.