Trust And Estate Administration

Q: My mom recently passed away with a paid off home (worth $500,000) but owning no cash assets. Unfortunately, she also had $20,000 of credit card debt. Will I be forced to sell her house to pay off the debt?

A: Potentially. The bottom-line is this: creditors have first priority BEFORE any heirs/beneficiaries receive estate assets. Therefore, since your mom’s estate is solvent, the credit card company is entitled to be paid back in full. However, since your mom’s estate...

Q: My mother recently passed away and now I am the Successor Trustee of her trust. In a nutshell, what are my primary duties as the Successor Trustee?

A: The three primary duties you will have are the following: (1) the collection, safeguarding and evaluation of the Trust Estate assets; (2) the payment of debts and liabilities of the Trust; and (3) the timely distribution of the remaining Trust assets to the...

Q: My mom named me (and not my sister) the Successor Trustee of her trust. Am I required to show my sister all the records of trust expenses and transactions, or does she just have to trust me since my mom clearly trusted me to do it correctly and fairly?

A: Yes, your sister has a right to receive an accounting! Specifically, under California Probate Code §16062, after your mom passes away, you will be required to provide a full accounting not only to your sister, but to EACH beneficiary at least once per year until...