It is a common myth related to California living trusts that nothing needs to be done when the person for whom the trust was made dies. While a revocable living trust can help avoid probate, it does not mean that there is nothing to do upon the death of a settlor/trustor.
Among some of the things that usually have to be done by a successor trustee are:
Obtain a taxpayer identification number from the Internal Revenue Service
Order timely appraisals of all trust assets
Provide notice to Medi-Cal
Marshall the estate’s assets so as to get a complete picture of the property in the estate
Fund subtrusts according to the terms of the living trust
Prepare statutory notices to beneficiaries
Prepare and file a final income tax return for the person who passed away
This list is not exhaustive; there are many more things that a trustee may be legally required to do. There are still procedures of legal significance that need to be done upon the death of a settlor. Failure to do some of these things leaves a successor trustee open to liability for breach of fiduciary duties.
So its not that the use of a properly funded revocable living trust avoids any and all costs associated with the handling of one’s affairs. However, in the ordinary situation the fees charged by an attorney should be far less than the statutory fees for probate.
Consult for free over the phone with a California trust adminstration attorney. Call Mitchell A. Port at (310) 559-5259.