Administering a California Estate that Has an Unfunded Trust: Six Steps

Perhaps surprisingly, discovering during the administration process that a living trust was not funded is an all-too-common occurrence. An individual invested the time and money into setting up a revocable living trust but failed to move his assets into the trust during his lifetime. The process of moving assets into the trust is known as “funding” the trust. Fortunately, revocable living trusts are often set up in conjunction with a pour-over will. A pour-over will allows you to move the estate assets into the trust during the Orange County estate administration process. 

How does this work? The following is an overview of steps you may follow when administering an estate that has a will and a trust that was not funded:

  • Contact an experienced Orange County estate attorney right away for guidance.
  • Following your loved one’s death, review the terms of his will to determine whether it is a pour-over will.
  • Petition the probate court to allow the will and officially appoint you as executor of the estate.
  • Pay any expenses or debts of the estate as outlined in the will.
  • Distribute any tangible personal property, if instructed to do so in the will.
  • Pour the remaining estate property into the trust in accordance with the terms of the will.

Once the assets are inside the trust, you must follow the terms outlined in that instrument with regard to the management and distribution of the assets. Our free guide, Understanding the Revocable Living Trust – In Language that Anyone Can Understand in 8 Minutes, provides more information about trusts. Our office of experienced Anaheim trust attorneys can help you carry out the terms of your pour-over will and administer an estate. Call us today at (714) 459-5481 for a consultation.

James F. Roberts
Founder and owner of the Law Office of James F. Roberts and Associates, a premiere estate planning law firm
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