What Are Your Trust Administration Duties As A Successor Trustee?

Taking on the role of successor trustee for the trust of a loved one can be a meaningful way to honor your connection to him or her. However, as a trustee, you will have a fiduciary responsibility to act in good faith and carry out the wishes of the grantor — the person who established the trust. It is a role that requires careful attention to deadlines and detail.

At The Dayton Law Firm, P.C., our attorneys have advised many clients on how to properly administer all types of estates. Our lawyers understand the many benefits that trusts can provide to families in terms of asset preservation and distribution through the generations. We assist families in realizing those benefits through skilled estate administration.

Basic Trust Administrator Duties

When a loved one who has established a trust passes away, your job as a successor trustee will begin. Here are a few of the actions you may be expected to take at that time.

  1. Order death certificates for the deceased.
  2. Locate will and trust documents.
  3. Determine the assets and liabilities for the estate.
  4. Update property titles and other documents to reflect the successor trustee.
  5. Lodge (file) the deceased's will with the probate court.
  6. Submit appropriate documents affirming the death to county recorder and others if the deceased was a property owner.
  7. File appropriate federal and state tax documents for the deceased and pay any applicable estate taxes.
  8. Distribute personal property to heirs as directed in trust documents.
  9. Prepare a full accounting of all estate and trust assets for each year you act as trustee.
  10. Make preliminary and final distribution of other assets to heirs.

Avoid Conflict By Being Proactive

It can be difficult enough to cope with your grief and carry out your successor trustee duties. At The Dayton Law Firm, P.C., our experienced attorneys will guide you through the process and help you fulfill all your duties and requirements. We can help you keep the beneficiaries informed about the process and assure them that you understand your role.

What If There Is A Conflict?

The challenges you face as a successor trustee can be compounded if you are confronted with will contests or inheritance disputes. If this is the case, our firm can help you manage the trust, and can refer you to trust litigation firms within our legal network if that becomes necessary.

Get A Free Consultation On Your Trust Administration Issues

We will assist you at each stage of trust administration. Our firm is located in San Jose and serves the entire Bay Area. We also serve clients throughout California. Call us at 408-758-5750 or email us to get started.