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Estate Administration

Trust Administration

Revocable Living Trusts have at least one and maybe two or more stages of administration where an attorney’s assistance is often needed. When a Trustmaker dies the successor trustees are to administer the estate pursuant to the terms of the trust. This could be simply paying the final bills and expenses and distributing assets outright or a complicated matter of arranging for the ongoing running of a business, liquidating extensive collections and overseeing assets in trust for beneficiaries pursuant to specific distribution provisions for a period of years. If a Trustmaker become incapacited before they die, successor trustee take on the responsibility of managing the Trustmakers care for the remainder of the Trustmaker’s life. For a married couple, the death of the first Trustmaker often triggers the need for administration necessary to protect assets against future estate tax exposure or to exercise additional planning options of the surviving spouse which, if not used within 9 months, will be lost forever.

Probate

The estates of people who die either without a Will or with only a Will must go through a lengthy, public and expensive Probate Proceeding before those estates can be passed on. Attorney fee for Probate in California are set by law and are based on the size of the estate, not the equity, so the larger the fair market value of the real estate, the larger the attorney’s fees. Wills are less expensive and easier to set up then trusts, but much more expensive overall to administer after death. Trusts on the other hand are more expensive to set up then Wills but are far less expensive overall to administer after death in addition to being private and immediate.