Trust Administration


What is a Trust Administration?

Trust administrations, as a general rule, take far less time and incur far less attorney's fees and costs than a probate proceeding.  A trust proceeding is entirely a "private" proceeding, meaning that the court is not involved and the process can move forward as fast as the successor trustee can complete the required tasks.  Generally a trust administration takes two to four months to complete from the time of death to time of distribution whereas a probate proceedings takes approximately twelve months or longer, depending on the court's backlog of cases.    

Every trust administration is different, however, all trust administrations require the successor trustee, with the assistance of his or her attorney or tax professional, to complete the following tasks: 

  • Creation of an inventory of assets that was held by the Trustor, either within the trust or outside the trust
  • Determination of the value of each item within the inventory as of the Trustor's date of death
  • Determination of all the debts of the Trustor, including funeral expenses
  • Payment of the Trustor's valid debts and expenses of the trust administration
  • If required, preparation and filing of state and federal estate tax returns by the nine month due date
  • Preparation and filing of the Trustor's final personal state and federal income tax return
  • Preparation and filing of the trust's fiduciary state and federal income tax returns
  • Management of the assets of the trust in compliance with the prudent investor rule, including maintaining insurance where appropriate
  • Making distributions from the trust to the beneficiaries in compliance with the terms of the trust and the California Probate Code. 
  • Preparation of a trust accounting, a document which is served upon each beneficiary and details required disclosures, including, but not limited to, exactly what income was earned by the trust, what gains and losses were incurred by the trust, and what expenditures and distributions where paid from the trust.  This report is required to account for every single penny coming into or going out of the trust