Trust Administration and Probate

If your parents had a living trust when they passed away, you and your siblings will need to administer the trust. If your parents had transferred their assets to their trust, then you won't have to take their estate through probate. Probate is expensive and a big pain. Trust administration is a lot of work, but way easier than probate.

What Is Trust Administration?

The person named as successor trustee in the living trust is responsible for administering the trust - identifying the trust assets, notifying the beneficiaries and creditors, paying the bills, liquidating the assets and distributing the assets to the beneficiaries. If all the assets had been transferred to the trust, the work can be done without court involvement. Administering a trust is much easier and less expensive than probate, but it is a big job. There are a lot of legal and tax issues involved, and most people use an experienced attorney to help them. This is what we do. We can help.

What Is Probate?

Probate is needed if there is no living trust and the assets include real estate or other assets worth more than $150,000. Probate typically will cost about 3%-7% of the gross estate value in court costs, attorney and executor fees and appraisals, and it will usually take about one year to complete. It will require filing a petition in the local probate court, notifying beneficiaries and creditors, filing appraisals, notifying the California Franchise Tax Board and following all the steps mandated by the California Probate Code. Usually all of this work is done by an experienced attorney. Probates are complicated and expensive, which is why it is way better to have a living trust. But if you have to go through probate, we can help.

When we were introduced to Clark Allison LLP my parents had a trust in place; however, due to the decline of my father we needed further assistance. Clark’s knowledge, empathy and professionalism were admirable as our family dynamics were a bit challenging. When I lost my mom and dad, it was comforting knowing our family didn’t need to compound our emotions with Estate issues. Clark, and his staff were prompt and efficient in guiding us through the “maze”! Since then, my sister and I have retained Clark to do the same – and - I would highly recommend him to others!Zach P. -Dad living in Folsom

Common Questions

A: There is no rush to administer the estate. Put your mom or dad to rest and celebrate his or her life with your family and friends. The practical things you can do are to order five to ten death certificates from the funeral home, find the estate planning documents and identify the assets.

A: Maybe not. If the assets not in the trust are real property worth less than $50,000 or other assets worth less than $150,000, there may be an informal way get the assets to the trust with a Probate Code Section 13100 Small Estate Declaration. If your parents had a writing showing their intent to transfer the assets to the trust, then you could petition with the probate court for an order stating that the assets should be in the trust. This is called a Heggstad petition and it is much simpler and way less expensive than probate.

A: No. There is no legal requirement that you use an attorney, but most people do because administering a trust or taking an estate through probate is complicated.

A: There is generally no fee for an initial consultation to explain the trust administration process. However, if you need to meet to discuss how to solve a problem or dispute, there will be a fee for our time.

Get Started

W The first step to get started is to schedule a meeting - either an office meeting or a phone meeting. To schedule a meeting, click the "Schedule a Meeting" button below and we will contact you right away.

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