Tying up the financial loose ends of a loved one is challenging. Ideally, the person who appoints you the Trustee of their California estate discusses their wishes with you before they pass. However, if you unexpectedly find that you have these responsibilities after their death, you may wonder where to start. We often help individuals administer a loved one’s estate.
According to Kiplinger, a trustee manages and protects assets delivered by the Trustor (the deceased). Their job includes administering and distributing the assets per the trust’s instructions. Although no two trusts are precisely the same, Trustees do have many of the same duties and responsibilities.
Protect trust assets
As Trustee, you must protect all assets held by the trust, including maintaining real property and reconciling bank statements. The law requires that you adhere to the terms as written by the Trustor unless they are illegal, immoral or impossible. This requires that you understand the requirements set forth.
Invest and distribute funds
Safeguarding the principal is a primary duty of a Trustee. As such, you must adhere to the “Prudent Investor Standard.” The trust terms determine when and how you distribute funds. In some cases, you may have a certain amount of discretion. You are accountable for the success or failure of the trust. Keep detailed records of your decisions and activities regarding trust administration in case anyone questions your actions.
Keeping beneficiaries informed of the trust administration, contacting the probate court and ensuring assets transfer to the trust are time-consuming duties. Many Trustees can benefit from the guidance of experienced trust administrators, who can help navigate the complexities of the position.