Trust And Estate Administration

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...

Q: My father just died without a will and his estate now needs to be probated. Who will the Court pick to be the administrator now: me or my stepmother?

A: Probate Code Section 8461 is very clear that a surviving spouse (subject to some very rare exceptions) will ALWAYS have priority over a child! If you would prefer that your child be the administrator versus your spouse, make sure to execute a valid will!