Handling Personal Property in an Orange County Living Trust

While much of the focus during an estate administration may lie with the real estate that was owned by the decedent, the remainder of the trust property or estate assets may consist of items of personal property. Personal property includes such items as clothing, furniture, and jewelry. The trustee of a living trust in Orange County must take great care in overseeing these assets as the estate plan is implemented. The following are six helpful facts about dealing with personal property during a trust or estate administration:

  • If the personal property is not in the trust, it is possible that you may qualify for a simplified probate administration proceeding, in order to handle these assets.
  • If the personal property is within the trust pursuant to the decedent’s estate plan, it must be administered according to the terms of the trust.
  • Common methods for handling personal property within an Orange County living trust include listing each item of property specifically, directing the trustee to divide and distribute, or allowing beneficiaries to each take a turn choosing an item until all of the personal property has been distributed.
  • Trustees should consider whether the personal property should be appraised by a licensed appraiser.
  • Trustees have an obligation to take control over personal property and ensure that it is managed and protected during the time between the decedent’s death and when the property is distributed.
  • Personal property often has a greater emotional value to the beneficiaries of a trust than a financial value. The trustee should not underestimate how important these items may be to the recipients and should therefore take great care with handling them.

To learn more about handling the personal property of a decedent during the trust administration process, view our free guide, Understanding the Revocable Living Trust - In Language that Anyone Can Understand in 8 Minutes. An experienced Orange County trust administration lawyer can assist you in carrying out your obligations as a trustee during the implementation of an estate plan in order to reduce the likelihood of disputes. Call our office 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