Trust Administration is the culmination of a properly drafted and executed estate plan. You have taken the steps to prepare and establish your Trust Agreement, Last Will and Testament, Advance Health Care Directive and Financial Power of Attorney Document. Now, those legal documents need to be executed or carried out. Starting with the Trust Agreement, you are basically making a revocable gift of your estate (assets) while you are alive but under the condition that you remain as the Settlor (Owner) and Trustee (Manager) until your incapacity or death. You made the choice to self administrate your estate during your lifetime, and when you are done using your assets then a Successor Trustee (Future Manager) you have named in your Trust Agreement needs to perform certain legal tasks to complete the transfer of your estate as a gift according to your Trust Agreement. Simply put, your Successor Trustee has to pass out the gift(s) of your asset(s) to your Beneficiaries (Loved Ones) according to your Trust. This process of Trust Administration parallels the process of Probate Administration through the judicial courts but with the Trust Agreement there is no court involvement. Trust administration is private and not subject to court approval. Unfortunately, there are times when improper drafting of the other issues are cause for court involvement. These issues can be remedied if clients are vigilant to review their estate plan and make the necessary changes to their estate plans according to the law updates and their life updates. Our law office can assist you in the Trust Administration of an estate and direct you to do what is required under the California Probate Code (California Law). We prepare, draft and execute the Trust Agreements and we can later help the Successor Trustee or Beneficiaries implement the Trust Agreement(s).
Likewise, we can assist when a person becomes incapacitated to guide the Agent who holds the Power of Attorney Documents to do what is correct and legal for the person who is incapacitated. Please do not take on the aforementioned tasks of Trust Administration and acting as an Agent for Power of Attorney lightly or alone. In the last few years the rise of Trust Litigation has risen dramatically, due to the fact that Successor Trustees and Power of Attorney Agents have not followed their fiduciary duties or done what they are supposed to do under the California Probate Code. When someone has named you as their Successor Trustee or Power of Attorney Agent you have a duty to protect the person and their estate. You have a duty to follow their wishes under the law and you should call our law office to help you do what is required of you. Call or contact our law office for an initial legal consultation and to represent you as the Successor Trustee or Power of Attorney Agent. We will act like the “coach” and you like the “player” and together we shall execute the game plan or legal instructions given to you. Please see below typical legal services included in Trust Administration and our schedule of legal fees.
- Meet with client, evaluate situation to administer, and sign Retainer Agreement to commence legal work;
- Provide authority to handle the estate affairs to the person who will be in charge (Client/Successor Trustee);
- Ensure that the Client/Successor Trustee locates and gathers assets, performs an inventory, and obtains an appraisal of those assets;
- Help the client (Suc Tee) determine if there are valid creditors, designate who they are, and determine when and how much they are to be paid;
- Assist the client (Suc Tee) in planning how to reposition the decedent’s assets and help carry out the plan;
- Ensure that final tax returns are completed;
- Oversee the distribution of the estate’s proceeds and make certain it is done properly;
- Ensure that the client (Suc Tee) obtains receipts of distribution and assist him or her in closing the estate.
Hourly rate for legal personnel, for Non-probate-related work or for extraordinary fees:
Principal Attorney $350
Associate (in or out of the office) $150
Paralegals (in or out of the office) $75
Clerical staff overtime $20
Business retainers (as negotiated)
Costs and Expenses:
In office photocopying $.20 per page (over 20 pages)
Mileage $.50 per mile
Word Processing/computer time $20 per hour
Computer Research Time costs + attorney’s time
Recorder’s fees Actual
Title searches Actual
The rates on this schedule are subject to change on ten (10) days written notice.