California Probate, Estate and Trust Administration

Los Angeles, Calabasas, Westlake Village & San Fernando Valley, CA Estate Administration


If estate planning is the process of designing a playbook, estate administration occurs when the playbook is put into action. The process begins with an event that triggers a provision in your estate plan, such as incapacity or death. The plan becomes ‘executory’, meaning that the individuals you designated in your plan documents must step into action and execute according to your instructions.

Estate administration can be complex and the people you have designated must have competent and experienced counsel to guide them through the process. They will need to make important decisions, sometimes quickly, and they will need help to make them wisely. They may need to prepare inventories of your property, prepare tax returns, or sign other important documents on your behalf. Ultimately they must divide and distribute your property to those individuals or charities you identified in your will or trust agreement.

The estate administration process carries many responsibilities. We can guide your loved ones through the process as sensitively and thoroughly as possible, while also making it straightforward and efficient. Estate Administration is required whether you have a revocable living trust or a will.

 

Probate

Probate is a court-supervised process for distributing the individually-owned assets of a deceased person.  Assets are distributed to beneficiaries in accordance to the instructions written in the person’s will. When probate-avoidance planning has not been implemented prior to death, the state will require a probate court proceeding if the deceased was a resident of California or owned assets in the state. Probate can be supervised or unsupervised. In an unsupervised probate, the estate administrator manages assets, pays debts, files required tax returns and various court documents, and distributes the estate assets. However, the court may at any time require the process to be supervised. This typically happens when someone expresses concern about the estate administration. In a supervised probate, the probate judge must approve every detail of the estate administration.

 

Trust Administration

A properly drafted and funded revocable living trust will generally avoid probate. A living trust is a legal document that, just like a will, contains your instructions for what you want to happen to your assets when you die. But, unlike a will, a living trust can avoid probate at death, control all of your assets and prevent the court from controlling your assets if you become incapacitated. Upon the death of a trust maker our law firm offers legal services to your successor trustee. The trustee is responsible for seeing that the assets of the trust are distributed properly and in a timely manner. An overview of the guidance we provide includes:

 

  • Review of the trust document
  • Gathering of all trust assets
  • Explanation of trustee responsibilities
  • Estate Tax Analysis
  • Collection of death benefits
  • Creation of sub-trusts
  • Dissolution of trust

SSS Legal Consultancy Services can help assist in your probate or trust and estate administration needs. Please contact us today for to schedule a complimentary consultation.