What is Trust Administration?
When someone you care about dies, and they have a trust as a part of their estate plan, there is a process known as trust administration that must be completed. While the person who makes the trust (the “Trustor” or “Grantor”) may assume the successor Trustee will take care of administering the trust, the task can be much more complex than you might think. Others may believe that once a trust is made everything will simply happen automatically. Again, this is rarely the case. Whether the person administering the trust is the successor trustee or an experienced Sonoma trust administration attorney, a new bank account in the name of the administrative trust may need to be set up to ensure all expenses are properly tracked. Each trust is unique and the situation, beneficiaries, and assets of the Grantor of each trust are unique.
This means that some things that will not occur during one trust administration may need to occur in another. Because of this, it is extremely important to hire experienced counsel during the trust administration process. Having a Sonoma trust administration attorney from the Gullotta Law Group can ensure that the trust administration goes smoothly and quickly.
What Trust Administration Services Can Gullotta Law Group Provide?
Once you have a Sonoma trust administration attorney helping you through the trust administration process, some or all of the following tasks will need to be completed.
- The trust beneficiaries and heirs must be notified of the Grantor’s death
- An IRS tax ID number will be obtained for the trust and any sub-trusts
- All final tax returns will be filed for the decedent
- As long as the trust is open, a trust income tax return must be filed annually
- A notice must be published in the local newspaper regarding the Grantor’s death
- All trust assets must be gathered together by the trust administrator, who must protect those assets
- The Grantor’s will is filed with the County Clerk
- A bank account will be opened in the name of the trust
- Any last expenses of the decedent will be paid
- Life insurance proceeds will be collected
- If the decedent had any assets that were not placed in the trust, formal probate must be opened with the court
- All banks and financial institutions must be notified of the Grantor’s death
- Social Security and the V.A. (if applicable) must be notified
- The beneficiary of any retirement accounts will be determined
- Valuations on all properties will be made
- Any debts for the estate must be paid, when necessary, liquidating assets to pay those debts
- After everything has been completed, the trust assets will be distributed to the beneficiaries.
There could be additional considerations and tasks that must be analyzed and dealt with, depending on the estate.
How Can Hiring an Attorney for Trust Administration Be Beneficial?
Many duties and responsibilities of a trust administrator require at least a basic understanding of the laws as they relate to trusts and estates. Financial expertise and experience are also extremely helpful when administering a trust.
When a trust administrator does not have the specific education and skills necessary, costly mistakes can be made. What many trustees/trust administrators may not be aware of is that under certain circumstances, a trustee can be held personally liable for any mistakes made during the administration of the trust.
Having an experienced Sonoma trust administration attorney handling the process makes sense if you have been named trustee, particularly if this is the first time you have served as a trustee. Your attorney can help you in many different ways, ensuring the administration is handled quickly, in a professional, experienced manner.
How Does Having an Attorney Perform the Trust Administration Process Help a Family?
Following the death of a loved one, it can be extremely difficult to try and administer a trust. There are many complexities associated with trust administration, and when done incorrectly, the trustee could be held personally liable for any financial mistakes. Having the time you need to grieve for your loved one without also trying to administer a trust, and perhaps deal with probate as well, can make a significant difference to family members and loved ones. When you have a Sonoma trust administration attorney from Gullotta Law Group, you can rest easy, knowing everything is being taken care of efficiently and in a timely manner.
Why Should You Choose Gullotta Law Group for Your Sonoma Trust Administration Attorney?
While you may have a good understanding of why you need a Sonoma trust administration attorney, you may be less certain of which firm you should choose to administer the trust of your loved one. This is a time when you need caring, experienced, highly-skilled legal representation because you are being asked to make decisions on transferring, inheriting, or administering property and assets left by the decedent. At the Gullotta Law Group, we will work hard to ensure the administration process is handled discretely and privately. While certain issues could be solved outside a courtroom, others may need to go through the probate process.
The decisions that must be made can be complicated, particularly during a time when you are more emotional than normal. You may have family members and friends offering “advice,” and one person’s advice may be totally different from the next. Having a strong legal advocate by your side throughout the trust administration and probate process makes a world of difference, particularly in cases where there may be disagreements between family members and beneficiaries. Having a neutral third-party administering the estate takes the element of emotion out of the process, making it easier on everyone. If there is a discrepancy in the will, or the will is disputed by a beneficiary, having an estate administrator who will distribute the estate according to California estate laws is crucial.
Contact Gullotta Law Group Today
At the Gullotta Law Group, we will ensure you are not alone during this difficult time. Trust administration is a multi-step, time-consuming process that can involve mountains of paperwork and dealings with the court. The entire process can be streamlined when you work with a Sonoma trust administration attorney from Gullotta Law Group. While keeping you involved in the process, we will handle all the legal issues associated with trust administration, doing our best to make this time easier and less stressful for you. Contact the Gullotta Law Group today.