When there is a trust and the settlor or trustor (the person who created the trust) dies, then the trustee or successor trustee needs to administer the trust. This means the trustee is responsible to take the steps to ensure the wishes and instructions of the settlor are complied with.
The will needs to be filed within 30 days of the death. A notice needs to be sent to all the heirs and beneficiaries within 60 days from the death. The heirs and beneficiaries will have 120 days from the date of the notice to contest the trust. The trustee then should take an inventory of all the assets in the trust and outside the trust and carry out the terms of the trust. If the estate is valued at more than the estate tax exemption, a federal estate tax return must be filed. Also, income tax returns also must be filed for both the estate and for the decedent. The assessor of the counties where the decedent owed real property must also be notified. These steps must be taken in order to comply with state law, to preserve the federal estate tax exclusion amount, and to change title to assets.
Some trust administrations are simple and some are complex. The complexity depends on the number and type of assets, their value, and the tax planning provisions of the trust.
If you are a trustee or successor trustee you can contact The Law Offices of Deborah Azar, P.C. for advice and assistance with the trust administration process.