If you were named as a successor trustee and the settlor of the trust died, you likely need some help administering the trust. Many people do not know what trust administration is nor do they know where to begin when it is time. The trust document contains some of the information you need to know throughout the process. Unfortunately, everything you need to do is not in the trust. The California probate code contains the legal steps and requirements of a trust administration. If you have been named a successor trustee and the grantor of the trust passed away, contact a trust administration attorney.
Trust Administration: Fiduciary Duty of the Trustee
The process is confusing and complicated. A successor trustee owes a fiduciary duty to the trust and the beneficiaries. When a mistake is made or a step is bypassed, the trustee may be held personally liable. It also gets complex when the trustee is also a beneficiary. Many estate planning attorneys represent trustees administering a trust. They provide you with the advice and counsel you need to fulfill your duty as trustee.
How Much Does Trust Administration Cost?
Like many legal services, it just depends. Trust administration attorneys will charge a flat fee or a percentage of the value of trust assets. It really depends on the lawyer and the number of assets involved in the administration. If the fee that you are quoted seems a little high, you might want to give a couple other lawyers a call. Keep in mind, there is a lot of work to do.
Does a Trustee Get Paid to Administer a Trust?
This depends on the trust instrument. The trust will usually say whether or not the trustee is entitled to compensation for their services. If it does not say what the compensation rate is, a reasonable rate should be paid to the trustee. There are several factors to consider what is reasonable. The factors generally include the amount of work the trustee must do, the experience of the trustee in administering trusts, any specialized knowledge the trustee many have that benefits the administration of the trust, and the amount that other trustees in the area get paid for doing like work.
What is a Trust Accounting?
There are different types of trust accounting. A beneficiary may waive an accounting as may a trust document. Regardless if an accounting is required or not, it is always a good idea to keep accurate records in case the court ever becomes involved. You want to be able to defend your actions and account for all property coming in and going out.
The Law Office of Justin Anton McCrea is an experienced trust administration attorney in the Sacramento, California area. If you need legal representation to administer a trust, he can assist you.