With both skill and sensitivity, we guide you through the post-death trust administration, clearly outlining the necessary steps. Although Living Trusts avoid probate, the person named to succeed you in managing the trust, assets will want legal and tax advice about critical and very time-sensitive steps. Proper post-death actions can minimize estate tax, income tax, property tax and ensure that the Living Trust instructions are properly followed.
We offer support during this difficult time by
- Confirming the title of assets in the Living Trust;
- Assessing the need to file an estate tax return;
- Determine the need for tax elections such as a "QTIP Election and/or "Portability";
- Determining the deed for a tax ID number for any ongoing trusts;
- Allocating assets into subtrusts for the protection of the beneficiaries;
- Preparing deeds to transfer real estate to the beneficiaries;
- Updating the Certification of Trust;
- Assessing the need and ability to update the estate plan; and
- Preparing necessary disclosures, accountings and release needed to close the administration.
We also provide direction and support to the successor Trustee of the Living Trust. Although every situation is different, the successor Trustee generally should
- Cancel all credit cards in the decedent's individual name and advise credit reporting agencies of the death;
- Stop writing checks on the decedent's accounts (unless the account is owned jointly);
- Arrange for safekeeping of any assets at risk, which may include changing locks;
- Confirm that the assets are adequately insured;
- Locate and inventory any home safe or safety deposit boxes;
- Forward mail as necessary by filing a change of address request form with the US Postal Service and when possible, contact senders of all important mail;
- Provide notice of the decedent's death to the Social Security Administration, pension plan administrators, 401(k) and IRA plan institutions, health insurance providers and other lifetime benefits providers, life insurance companies, Department of Veterans Affairs, if the decedent was a Veteran; and Medi-Cal if the decedent received Medi-Cal benefits; and
- Determine whether all real property tax payments and/or HOA fees are up to date.
Whatever the situation, we have the knowledge, sensitivity and experience to walk you through all aspects of post-death administration.