Santa Ana Post Death Trust Administration Attorney
Mourning the death of a loved one is never easy. It requires ample time and space to process what happened emotionally. During such a difficult time, the last thing that residents of Orange County will want to think about is the legal process that their loved one’s Santa Ana property and assets will have to go through. Thankfully, a Santa Ana post-death trust administration attorney can assist.
If adequate estate planning was not carried out prior to the loved one’s passing, then it may be unclear which parts of their property and assets will have to go through probate. Even if estate planning was adequately completed, it can be burdensome for a trustee to have to carry out tasks such as trust administration and paying taxes and debts.
A trust attorney from The Flanigan Law Group can provide general legal counsel and administrative support. We can also help you with any trust litigation that may arise. The Flanigan Law Group is a law firm that has years of legal experience in carrying out the wills of a trustor after their passing. We can help you defend the desires and rights of your loved one who has passed away.
Understanding the Key Elements of Estate Planning in Santa Ana, California
The process of estate planning helps an individual ensure that their estate is protected and properly distributed upon their passing, according to their wishes. Not only does estate planning help determine what will happen with your assets after your death, but it also helps prepare for situations in which you are no longer able to make decisions regarding your finances or healthcare.
An estate planning attorney can help you draft and implement a will, which will detail how you prefer to have your assets divided upon passing. They can also help you with your charitable planning goals, which include having your assets distributed to the charity and beneficiaries of your will as optimally as possible.
A trust is a tool that is commonly used in estate planning. An individual can transfer their assets into a trust, which can allow their estate to avoid probate and ensure that their legacy is directly benefiting their loved ones. A trust administration attorney can help you determine which trust solutions, such as irrevocable trusts or living trusts, are optimal for your situation.
Power of attorney is another kind of estate planning tool that can be used to plan for the case that you are incapacitated or unable to make decisions for yourself. You can have a healthcare or financial power of attorney as well as a healthcare directive or advance healthcare directive.
An experienced estate planning lawyer can help you identify and consider how you will divide and manage all your assets, including retirement accounts, digital assets, and insurance policies, upon your passing. They can consider crucial elements, such as estate taxes and funeral or burial instructions, that need to be worked into your estate plan.
What If My Loved One Did Not Do Adequate Estate Planning in Santa Ana?
If your loved one has passed away without taking adequate estate planning measures, such as issuing a will, then it is likely that their entire estate will have to go through the California probate process. Probate is a court-run process that determines how the estate of a deceased person will be divided among beneficiaries.
If not adequately handled, probate can take up to a year and result in the loss of thousands of dollars in court fees. For the family of the deceased to gain access to an estate worth more than $150,000, they will likely be subject to the probate process.
In California, if the beneficiaries of an estate were not specified in an estate plan, then the heirs of an estate will be decided using intestate succession laws. Under California law, an heir is considered to be a person who is entitled to a portion of the estate of the deceased. Usually, this will be a spouse, child, or another relative. If there are no heirs of the deceased person, then the estate will be handed over to the state.
Who Handles Probate Matters After the Death of a Loved One?
If a loved one’s estate has to go through probate, then there may be concern about who will guide this process. If a will was written, then the individual who was identified there will be in charge of carrying out the probate process. The person who is identified as being in control of the probate process in the will is known as the executor. The appointed executor can refuse the appointment, and the responsibility can be passed onto another close relative.
If there was no will, then a close relative of the deceased person, such as the spouse or an adult child of the deceased, will carry out estate-related duties. It’s critical to note that it is possible to have two or more individuals handling the probate case at the same time. However, they must act in accordance with each other. It’s important for relatives of the deceased to have open and clear dialogue with each other about what each person’s responsibilities are.
There is an order of preference that will be followed by the court system when determining who the personal representative of an estate will be. If the individual was not named in the will, then it will be the spouse, child, grandchild, parent, or sibling of the deceased. A California judge will decide on who the personal representative is, based on these criteria.
It’s important to note that beneficiaries of a Santa Ana, CA estate can be identified, even if they were not in the will of the deceased. For example, there may be terms built into a bank account or retirement account that could directly benefit a certain person. These types of beneficiaries may be entitled to make decisions about the estate or lay claim to parts of it.
What Occurs When the Grantor of an Irrevocable Trust Dies?
An irrevocable trust is a kind of trust that cannot be changed once it has been implemented, except by the beneficiary. It takes a part of the estate from a grantor so that they are no longer technically in ownership of it, which allows these assets to avoid probate and taxes.
Upon the death of the grantor of the irrevocable trust, ownership of the trust will be handed over to the successor trustee. The successor trustee must be appointed by the grantor in the
Declaration of Trust. They will be responsible for overseeing the distribution of all the assets, according to the wishes of the deceased.
The successor trustee has other responsibilities, including:
- Notifying everyone involved with the trust that it exists and is going to be divided
- Having the assets of the trust valued
- Submitting the final tax return for the grantor
Because this process can be overwhelming for trustees, it is critical to have the knowledge and support of a compassionate Santa Ana trust distribution lawyer.
How Exactly Do California Trust Assets Get Distributed After Death?
In California, the process by which trust assets will be distributed after a person’s death is dependent on the type of trust that was issued and the specific terms stated in the trust document.
A revocable trust, or living trust, is a common kind of trust that can be used as an estate planning tool. After the trustmaker passes away, the responsibility of handling the trust will be passed to the successor trustee, who is specified in the trust document.
They will carry out the valuation of assets in the estate, pay debts and taxes, and then distribute the rest to the appointed beneficiaries. It’s important that they keep track of all transactions completed by exercising meticulous recordkeeping and note-taking.
Irrevocable trusts are trusts that cannot be touched by the grantor after they are established. Many individuals choose irrevocable trusts for estate planning because they can better protect assets from certain parties, such as tax collectors and creditors. Typically, the distribution process for an irrevocable trust is less flexible. It is determined by California law and the terms written out in the trust contract.
There are other kinds of trusts, such as testamentary trusts and special needs trusts, that will be executed or triggered upon different terms, and the distribution of their assets will follow different processes.
A Santa Ana trust attorney can help trustees support beneficiaries by providing them with key information about how long the process will last and how much they can expect to receive. An attorney can also offer support by helping the trustee distribute assets according to the law and the will of the deceased grantor.
Can I Set Up a Living Trust After the Death of a Loved One in California?
Unfortunately, it is not possible to set up a living trust after a loved one has passed away in California. A living trust, otherwise known as an irrevocable trust, must be set up by an individual during their lifetime. The person who makes the trust during their lifetime, known as the trustmaker, must specify how they want the trust to be handled and distributed upon their passing.
After the trustmaker passes away, there is no way to change or modify the terms of the trust, and a new trust cannot be created that is under their name. If a Californian does not create a trust before their passing, then their estate will likely have to go through probate court. If the trust was already established before their passing, then the assets in the trust will be distributed based on the type of trust and its specific terms.
What Is the Maximum Amount of Time That a California Trust Can Stay Open After Death?
A California trust cannot be left open for an indefinite amount of time, as the state’s “rule of perpetuities” keeps this from happening. However, it can be left open for long enough that beneficiaries of multiple generations may exist. In California, a trust must be terminated within 90 years of its creation or 21 years after the individual who created the trust dies.
It’s important to note, however, that a trust can be terminated long before the 90-year limit. There are many different ways in which a trust can be terminated, depending on the type and terms of the trust. If the trust is a revocable living trust, then the trustmaker can terminate it whenever they want to, and they do not have to give a particular reason.
There can also be an established date of termination for when the trust should end so that all involved parties can be aware of a common end date. An irrevocable trust may be more difficult to terminate if there is no assigned end date, but there may be a clause that gives the trustee power to terminate the trust when they see fit.
Generally, California courts say that trusts can be terminated if:
- The trust becomes unlawful.
- The aims of the trust become impossible to carry out.
- The aim of the trust is finished.
The California courts can also terminate a trust, but they are unlikely to do so without a clear reason.
Get the Santa Ana Post-Death Trust Administration Support You Need
The time after the passing of a loved one is extremely difficult, and it can take years to establish a new normal without that person in your life anymore. To carry on their legacy as a trustee, you will want to be sure that you are carrying out your duties according to their will as closely as possible, within the framework of California law.
Distributing the assets of a loved one comes with a lot of responsibility as well, in that there are many tasks to fulfill, which can require extensive legal knowledge about estate planning topics like trust administration.
A trust administration lawyer from The Flanigan Law Group can help support you with these complicated legal processes so that you can focus on grieving and taking care of yourself. Reach out to our team today to start discussing your case and to find out how we can help you.