Author photo

By Diana Wade

What is Trust Administration?

Ask the LDA


March 2, 2024

Example: My mother just passed away. She had a living trust. I need to distribute the assets.

After the grantor of a living trust dies, there are several things that must be done, either by the successor trustee or the surviving trustee (usually the spouse). The process is called Trust Administration.

1. Obtain several copies of the death certificate.

2. Prepare and record documents that establish the authority of the current trustee. In California, typically you would file an Affidavit Death of Trustee, a Preliminary Change of Ownership Report and a Death of Real Property Owner.

3. Transfer trust property from the deceased grantor to beneficiaries of the trust.

4. For any real estate owned by the grantor, an appraisal must be obtained of the market value of that property as of the date of the grantor's death. Usually a statement from a Real Estate Agent is all you need. This is for the "stepped up" tax base.

5. Notify each of the beneficiaries of the trust's existence and any other important information about the trust. It may not be required, but it is a good idea. It's often ignored, but if not done it might/can expose the successor trustee to liability.

6. Get a statement from all securities and stock accounts owned by the grantor from each financial institution showing the value of the account as of the date of death – again for the stepped up tax basis.

7. If the grantor has a retirement account, check to see if the required minimum distribution is taken in the year of death.

8. File federal and state income tax returns as well as any previous unfiled years. You will need an Employer Identification number for that.

9. Notify the Social Security Administration and all companies that issued credit cards to the deceased grantor that the grantor has died.

10. The surviving spouse may need to make a new will, new powers of attorney and possibly changes to the surviving spouse's living trust (if you are unsure, contact an attorney for legal advice).

Diana Wade is a Legal Document Assistant. She can be reached at (661) 821-0494 or Diana is not an attorney; she can only provide self-help services at your specific direction. Kern County LDA #185, ex 4/11/25.


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2024