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Questions Answered About Living Trust Administration for California Residents

In California, the administration of a living trust generally concerns two time periods: (1) before trustor's death and (2) after trustor's death. Before he dies, the trustor (or creator of the trust) can transfer his assets in the trust and manage the assets. After he dies, his living trust becomes irrevocable (it cannot be changed anymore) and the trust takes over the ownership of the decedent's assets. After trustor's death, the trustee appointed by the trustor will take charge of the administration of the trust assets.

The living trust administration in California, after trustor's death, requires the trustee to generally comply with the following steps:
  1. The trustee must give notice to the trust's beneficiaries and the decedent's heirs that the trust has become irrevocable upon the trustor's death.
  2. The trustee must identify the decedent's assets and determine which assets have been funded and which ones have not been funded to the trust.
  3. The trustee must get appraisals of all assets of significant value. If the decedent left gifts to his beneficiaries in percentages, values must be determined so each beneficiary receives property of equal worth.
  4. The trustee should take possession of the decedent's mail by collecting it from his residence and also by submitting a change-of-address form at the post office. Reviewing decedent's mail will help the trustee identify decedent's debts.
  5. The trustee must contact the Internal Revenue Service to get a tax identification number for the trust. He will need to use this number to file the income tax returns for the trust.
  6. The trustee must file California and federal personal income tax returns for the decedent for his last year of life and income tax returns for the trust.
  7. The trustee must pay decedent's debts and taxes.
  8. The trustee has to make distributions to the trust's beneficiaries in accordance to the terms of the trust. This might involve setting up sub-trusts to keep the assets not distributable to minors until they reach the age of majority or to comply with other terms of the trust.
To comply with the above steps for the living trust administration in California, a trustee will need the advice and assistance of an attorney, accountant and potentially, a tax expert.

Tucker Cheadle is an attorney and a tax expert. He has acted as a fiduciary, trustee, executor, and administrator on more than 70 trusts and wills. Cheadle Law continues working with clients year over year because of the skill and expert handling of all trust matters including tax returns, administrating trusts and the overall management of the clients' trust.

With over 30 years of experience, Tucker Cheadle and his team of accountants and paralegals will help you make the best decisions while administering a living trust in California. Call Tucker Cheadle at 949-553-1066. He will go over your options, and help you get clarity to make wise future decisions about how to administer a California living trust.

A review of any materials on this web page, any preliminary comments or an introductory meeting does not constitute legal, income tax or accounting advice upon which reliance can be placed. The attorney client relationship can only be created by a written retainer agreement following a check of potential and actual conflicts of interest with other clients.
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