Trust Administration - The Often Forgotten Part About A Living Trust...

Having a Living Trust in place before passing is a good thing. There are so many advantages to having a Living Trust in place. You do your family a great service by making their job a lot easier and usuaally less expensive than having to go through and deal with Probate when you're gone. However one of the most often overlooked aspects of a Living Trust is the required adminstration that needs to be done when the person who created the Living Trust passes on. Many families find themselves asking the question, "Okay, mom had this Living Trust when she passed, so now what do I do?" The Probate Source has been assisting families wtih Trust Administration for almost 30 years, and doing it at a fraction of what Attorneys charge. There is a prescribed process to Trust Administration and it is similar to Probate in that there is a serious of steps and paperwork to complete. However you normally don't have to involve the Court system with administering a Trust after someone passes.


Attorney's Fees Versus The Probate Source's

Estate Value: Attorney Charges: Probate Source Charges: You Save:
$250,000 $2,500 - $7,500 $999 $1,501 - 6,501
$350,000 $3,500 - 10,500 $999 $2,501 - $9,501
$500,000 $5,000 - 15,000 $999 $4001 - $14,001
$750,000 $7,500 - $22,500 $1,500 $6,000 - $21,000
$1,000,000 $10,000 - $30,000 $1,500 $8,500 - $28,500

* All fees are calculated on the gross value of the Trust Estate.


The Probate Source NEVER charges any of its fees up front. Trust Administration fees are not due until the administration work has been completed. Unlike Attorneys and other Trust Administration services, we will never ask you for any fees until the work has been finished. If you are not fully satisfied with our work, then you pay nothing.


Trust Administration: County Assessor: Trust Real Estate Sale(s):
Locate and file the Will with the Court. Believe it or not, most all Trusts have an acompanying Will. California law requires that a Will be filed with the Probate Court once someone passes on. Notify the Social Security Administration. This is required. Notify the State Department of Health. Identify all Trust beneficiaries, and check for any valid Trust Amendments made by the Trustor prior to his or her passing. Prepare and send out the written Notice of Trust Administration forms to all who are entitled to notice. Provide copies of the Trust to those beneficiares requesting copies in writing. Inventory all Trust assets. Secure Trust property where necessary. Obtain a Trust taxpayer id number. Get all Trust property re-titled into the name of the Successor Trustee as soon as possible. Assist in establishing a record keeping system for the Trust to prepare for the intermediate and/or final Trust accounting. Get Trust assets appraised where necessary. Organize and assist in getting the Trust Estate Creditors satisfied. Prepare the final Trust Accounting. Assist with any other Trust Adminstration issues that arise. Prepares and files the required county Assessor forms and documents with the County Assessor for any real property which may be held in the Trust. This includes the Change in Ownership - Death of Real Property Owner form, Parent to Child Reassessment Exclusion form, and the Grandparent to Grandchild Reassessment Exclusion form (when these forms are applicable). Oversee the entire sales process from listing, marketing, sale, and close of escrow. Make sure that the client has the trust taxpayer id number, and assist with the obtaining of the Trust bank account (if needed) so as to be ready for the Title Company to wire funds from the Trust real estate sale into the Trust bank account. Work closely with the Title Company to ensure that all of the required Trust related forms and documents needed to close the sale have been obtained, certified when necessary, and delivered to the Title Company to meet all Title requirements to close the Trust real estate sale.

Common Questions About Trust Administration:

  • Is an Attorney required to Administer a Trust?  (Ans: No.)
  • Why is Trust Adminstration necessary?
    (Ans: Trust administration is set out in the California Probate Code, and is required by law. Not going through the proper steps in Trust administration after the Trustor passes can expose the Successor Trustee (you) to a lot of potential legal problems. Following a proper Trust administration process helps insure that you won't face legal problems such as a lawsuit by a disgruntlted Trust beneficiary later.)
  • How much do Trust Administration Attorneys charge?
    (Ans: That really depends on the Attorney. You will find fees that range anywhere from 1% to 3% of the gross value of the Trust Estate. Some Attorneys will instead charge their hourly rate which can be anywhere from $250.00 - $500.00. That can add up quickly.)
  • Why do I have to lodge the Will with the Probate Court?
    (Ans: The Probate code requires that the original Will be lodged with the Superior Court which has jurisdiction over the Decedent. This is a requirement regardless of if the Decedent had a Trust or not. If there is an original Will when someone passes, it must be lodged with the local Probate court.)
  • What if the Trustor forgot to put his or her home into the Trust before he or she passed on?
    (Ans: That is a problem, and believe it or not, a somewhat common one. Many people have a Living Trust done, but forget one of the most important parts. That is to tranfer title of their home or other real property into the name of the Trust before they pass on. There are a couple possible remedies to that. If the proper supporting paperwork to the Trust exists, then you may be able to coomplete a Court procedure where the Court confirms the property as officially part of the Trust after the Trustor had passed on (Heggstadt Petition). If that is not a possibility, then the only other alternative is to Probate the home or property into the Trust.)
  • I thought having a Living Trust will save my family money when I pass on?
    (Ans: In general it does as it will normally save the cost of going through Probate. However there is still some Trust administrative work that needs to be done. This administrative work can get very expensive if you use an Attorney. By using The Probate Source to assist you with the Trust administration, you will definitely save significantly.)
  • Are the Trust beneficiaries personally responsible for the debts of the Decedent?
    (Ans: No. The Trust beneficiaries are not personally responsible for the debts, the Trust Estate is. If the Trust Estate is solvent, then the debts of the Decedent must be addressed, and there are many ways to do that. Once the debts of the Decedent have been satisfied from the Trust Estate, then the remainder of the Trust assets are distributed to the Trust beneficiaries as set out in the Trust document.)

© The Probate Source 2019, William C. Hayman - Licensed & Bonded California Legal Document Assistant, Placer County Registration #16-004. NewVision Realty Group, 951 Reserve Drive, Ste 140, Roseville, CA 95678, California BRE #02000748. I (William C. Hayman) am not an attorney. I can only provide self help services at your specific direction.