How to Ensure Trust or Estate Administration Runs Smoothly

Administering a trust or estate is a time-consuming process with many important tasks that must be completed. When the administration process is not handled properly, there can be many negative consequences, including fighting among the beneficiaries, fees and penalties, and personal liability for the trustee or executor. Fortunately, the trustee or executor can follow these simple guidelines to ease the administration process in California:

  1. Keep an accurate list of the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all the beneficiaries and heirs.
  2. Order extra copies of the death certificate so that you have one readily available if needed during the administration process.
  3. Ask your attorney for a checklist of tasks that you are required to handle, and check them off as you accomplish them.
  4. Keep an updated list of all of the estate’s assets, along with important information such as bank names, account numbers, and contact information.
  5. Maintain a list of all creditors of the estate, the account balances, and the contact information for each party.
  6. Update your calendar with important dates including the date that estate, trust, or personal income tax returns are due, filing deadlines with the probate court, and the last date in which a creditor can bring forth a claim against the estate or trust.
  7. Keep extra copies of the will and trust on hand so that they are easily accessible when you need to refer to their terms.
  8. Consider updating beneficiaries on a regular basis in order to keep the lines of communication open. Often, this will help to minimize frustration and discord among the parties.

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