Although living trusts are drafted to avoid probate, after one, or both, spouses die, there is still a process, called trust administration, that the person who is named in the trust to take over the management of the trust assets, called the successor trustee, must complete.
Even though there's no formal court supervision of a trust administration (which is the whole reason you've gone to the trouble of creating a living trust), there are still state and federal laws that a successor trustee must follow.
We advise successor trustees on who should be notified about the existence of a trust, how to notify creditors and handle outstanding bills, how to keep proper records and provide the required accounting statements, how to obtain the necessary taxpayer identification numbers and open up new bank or brokerage accounts, and how to distribute assets to beneficiaries as directed by the trust.
We will also refer you to qualified accounting professionals for help in filing the decedent's final income tax return and estate tax returns, if that's necessary.
TO BEGIN YOUR TRUST ADMINISTRATION PROCESS, EMAIL Finch Montgomery Wright, OR CALL US AT 650-327-0888.