If you are named as the successor trustee of your loved one’s trust, when he passes away, your responsibilities regarding the trust begin immediately. One important part of your new role is to safeguard the assets of the trust. The specific steps that you must take in order to keep these assets safe will vary depending on the type of asset. However, there are certain asset types that are common to trust administrations in California.
Guarding Trust Assets
In order to get you started in the right direction, following is a list of five helpful tips for protecting trust assets:
- Gather up any extra checkbooks from the trust’s bank accounts. Check books that are not accounted for could give someone else unauthorized access to the account.
- If there is any question regarding who has access to the bank accounts of the decedent, close the accounts as soon as possible. The funds can then be transferred into a new account that is only accessible by the new trustee.
- Contact the decedent’s insurance agent to ensure that all insurance policies are current. If recommended, purchase additional insurance policies as needed. Pay special attention to insurance for real estate, as the type of policy that is appropriate may change after the decedent passes away. For example, a homeowner’s policy will no longer work on the Anaheim real estate where the decedent lived. The property is now considered an investment property and an appropriate insurance policy should be utilized.
- Gather any collectibles, such as jewelry or coins, and place them in a secure location for storage. It is also important to obtain insurance on these items if applicable.
- Take charge of rental properties. If the trust holds a rental house that is being rented by someone who is not paying rent, the trustee should terminate that tenancy. In the alternative, the trustee can agree to appropriate rental terms with the tenant so that the use of the property is being paid for.
As a successor trustee, there is a great deal of work to be done. Fortunately, you are generally permitted to seek help and guidance from a qualified professional. We have helped countless other clients administer trusts in California and we can help you, too. We invite you to view our client testimonials page to hear more from our former clients about our services.