Trusted Guidance For Probate And Trust Administration
If a friend or loved one has entrusted you with the administration of a trust or probate estate, you may feel honored but unsure what to do next. You need a trusted legal guide to help you understand your new role and its obligations.
My name is Rocky Tindage, and I am happy to provide that guidance for you at Tindage Law. I view every client as a new relationship and will respond to your questions and concerns every step of the way. Whether you are a trustee, an estate executor or an administrator, your role comes with a fiduciary duty to the trust or estate. I will make sure you understand what that means for you and help you fulfill that duty.
Understanding The Probate Process
California law lays out the probate process and explains all the required steps one must take to administer a probate. If the decedent dies with a will, we say that they died testate, and the executor takes the steps needed to enforce the wishes expressed in the will. If the decedent dies without a will, or intestate, the court appoints an administrator to identify the heirs and estate for distribution according to state statute.
In either case, the estate representative must:
- Give proper notice to interested parties, including creditors
- Collect all of the assets in the decedent’s name
- Liquidate assets, as needed
- Identify potential debts and creditors
- Pay all legitimate claims on the estate from creditors
- Distribute the rest of the assets to the heirs or beneficiaries, as appropriate
The probate court will supervise the administration of the case, which usually takes between 10 and 18 months.
Note that not all estates need to go through probate. Probate only applies to money and assets that belong solely to the decedent and are not held in a payable on death account or in a trust. These assets must total at least $166,250 in California in order to require a formal probate. Smaller estates may qualify for a simplified process.
Probate is complex and difficult to manage without an attorney. I will help you determine what steps your probate case requires and ensure that the proper procedures are followed throughout the process.
Challenges In Trust Administration
Although there are many types of trusts, the most common is the living trust. Many grantors (creators) of a living trust start out as their own trustees but name a successor trustee to take over when they either become incapacitated or die. The trust grantor may have funded the trust with cash accounts, investments, real estate or many other types of assets.
Your job as the trustee is to care for the assets and distribute them according to the terms of the trust. The trust may give you very broad discretion or specific instructions on how to do this. The trust will also name the beneficiaries, which may initially include the grantor, but then go on to friends, family members, charities or even pets.
Every trust is as unique as the people who create, administer and benefit from them. When you come to Tindage Law, I will make sure you understand the terms of your trust and your responsibilities in fulfilling your duties.
Discuss Your Case Today
I am here to help you understand your role and responsibility in your case. Contact my office in San Bernardino today to schedule an appointment. You can either call 909-789-0724 or fill out the online contact form.