2011: San Diego Trust Administration Check List

In San Diego, may persons have a revocable living trust. Post death, the executor or trustee who is administering the trust has many legal duties. Failure to perform these duties can result in legal exposure for the trustee or executor. All revocable living trusts are different since the assets and distribution of the assets are specific for each estate. Trust administration can be very complicated. Please contact us for a confidential and complimentary consultation regarding trust administration in San Diego.

Below is a partial checklist for issues which arise and tasks which need to be performed in the duties of the trustee and/or executor. Again, this is complicated and an attorney experienced in trust administration should be used.

Filing Tax Returns: the estate will need it own tax payer identification number. The estate may need to file a tax return depending on the tax liability. A certified public accountant may be necessary to prepare the tax return for the estate.

Distribution Trust Property and Trust Income to Beneficiaries: per the terms of the trust, the income and property will need to be distributed. This can become complicated as well depending on the income and property.

Managing Trust Investments and Trust Assets: one of the duties in trust administration may be to manage all assets and investments of the trust. Many trusts have real property, personal property, bank accounts, stock investments, mutual fund investments and others. The management of these assets is one of the primary duties for trust administration.

Collecting Sums Owed to the Trust: one of the duties in trust administration is to collect money or outstanding receivables owed to the trust. In some cases, litigation must be initiated to collect.

Paying Expenses and Debts of the Trust: conversely, one of the duties in trust administration is to pay the debts and ongoing expenses of the trust. For example, if real property is part of the trust administration, then the mortgage, property taxes and maintenance of the real property is part of the expenses and debt.

Consulting Experts: in many trust administration cases, it will become necessary to consult experts. The first expert should be an attorney experienced in trust administration cases. The attorney can assist with referrals to other experts as needed such as certified public accountants, financial advisors, property managers and others needed to administer the trust.

Obtaining Valuations or Appraisals of the Trust Assets: it is crucial, at the time of death, to obtain accurate appraisals and/or valuations of the assets of the trust. This gives a “bench mark” for valuation which may be needed in the future.

Keeping an Accurate Inventory of Trust Property: It is essential for proper trust administration to keep an accurate inventory of the trust property. This should be done immediately and a comprehensive and complete inventory of all property should be made and kept for future use.

Keeping an Accurate Accounting of Trust Expenditures and Trust Income: one of the reasons trust litigation occurs is the lack of keeping an accurate accounting of the trust income and trust expenditures. The executor and/or trustee owe a fiduciary duty in this regard and it is essential that the accounting of income and expenses be accurate and complete.

Selling Property of the Trust: per the trust itself, the property may need to be sold. Selling real property is much different from the sale of personal property. Again, a complete accounting needs to be performed on each item of property sold.

In conclusion, this is not a comprehensive list and there are many other duties not included. The tasks, as above, are numerous and complicated. An attorney can protect rights and also insure proper and legal trust administration.

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