When a loved one passes away with a Living Trust, there is an estate process which needs to be completed. Traditionally, this was a court-administered “probate”, which is sometimes still the case. In the vast majority of cases, however, it is not a probate but a “Trust Administration” of the Living Trust, with the person nominated as the “Trustee” acting as a fiduciary for the administration. It is the Trustee who hires Gaw Estate Planning to assist in the administration of the Living Trust. The other members of the team include the CPA, Financial Advisor, and other key professionals.
Dave is a leader in California in teaching attorneys and CPAs the process of Trust Administration. He is a frequent speaker and the author of reference and process materials for Trust Administration.
The steps involved in a Trust Administration will vary depending on whether the death was of a Single Person, the First Spouse in a marriage, or the death of the Surviving Spouse. Further, the steps may differ somewhat based upon the complexity of the assets and the size or value of the estate.
In a typical Trust Administration, the Trustee, with the help of our team, will take the following steps:
- Prepare and serve required legal notice to beneficiaries
- Collect asset information
- Arrange for appraisal of assets
- Determine the decedent’s liabilities
- Petition the probate court as needed
- Summary collection of assets held outside of trust
- On death of first spouse, determine values of Decedent’s and Surviving Spouse’s shares
- Prepare allocation agreement for assignment of assets between sub-trusts
- On death of first spouse, determine whether to file 706 return for “Portability”
- Prepare and file 706 return where required
- Prepare accounting
- Distribution of assets to Trusts or beneficiary
We assist the Trustee throughout this process, including assistance and directions to the Trustee for ongoing work or continuing administration of sub-trusts. This includes assistance with the Trustee’s tax responsibilities and obtaining tax identification numbers for trusts when necessary. We will also communicate regularly with your CPA.