Trust Administration and Probate

Let us help you honor the gift left to you by a loved one.

Trust Administration

We offer assistance to Trustees and Beneficiaries with respect to the administration of a Trust after the death of a Trustor. These processes are complex and the people you have designated to act for you must have competent and experienced counsel to guide them through the process. Our services often include the procedures such as the lodging of a Will, providing notices to beneficiaries, working with creditors, communicating with Assessor/Recorders, financial institutions, medical facilities, and, over all, assisting the Trustee and tax advisors with the administration of the Trust and ultimate distribution to beneficiaries. Trust Administration is provided on an hourly basis, as every project is distinct in its nature and complexity.  The minimum retainer for full Trust Administration is $10,000.00.

Benefits of Professional Trust Administration

Trust Administration can be faster than Probate.

In California, the probate process takes on average 12 – 24 months to complete, meaning that assets may very well be held in limbo for one to two years at a time when beneficiaries may be counting on an inertance for support. An efficient trust administration process can significantly expedite the transfer of an estate to your loved ones.

Trust Administration can be less costly than Probate.

Fees due to lawyers and personal representatives of the probate estate are most often paid pursuant to Probate Code Section 10800, which calculates such fees based on percentages of the fair market value of the probate assets, not offset by debt.  For example, if an estate consists of a home and some accounts in the Bay Area, the fair market value of that estate may easily be at least $2,000,000.  Fees based on that, along with additional costs payable to the courts, other probate professionals, and related expenses, can quickly total at least $75,000 which must be paid from the estate prior to the distribution of any assets.  This is the case even if there were significant mortgages or other debts of the estate.  The administration of a trust estate, alternately, is most often done by lawyers on an hourly basis and can cost significantly less than probate for most simple estates, leaving greater gifts for your beneficiaries.  

Trust Administration can keep your family out of court.

The probate process takes place in the Superior Court of California. Going to court after a death is stressful, especially for the executor of an estate who is ultimately responsible for hiring lawyers, providing all of the court paperwork, and overseeing the technical steps involved in probating an estate. Since the administration of a properly funded trust takes place outside of court, all of this particular stress can be avoided.

Trust Administration is more private.

When an estate goes through the probate process, it becomes court record — which means your Will and other financial information can become public. You may not want your family’s private affairs to be open to the general public. The trust administration process allows you to keep private the details about your estate, the transfer of wealth, and all related personal matters.

There’s a reduced chance of your wishes being contested in Trust Administration.

When you transfer assets via a Will, there is a greater chance that a person  may contest your intentions than when estates are planned through a living trust. When a Will is contested, your planned legacy set forth through a will may be jeopardized, and in all events will increase the costs and duration associated with a probate proceeding. 

Probate

When a person dies without a trust-based Estate Plan in place, the distribution of assets and guardianship of minors is often left to the Probate Court of the Superior Court of the State of California.  Probate is a court-supervised process for distributing the individually owned assets of a deceased person. These processes are complex and the people you have designated to act for you must have competent and experienced counsel to guide them through the process.

Probate FAQ

Costs of Probate

When you hire us as legal counsel for the Executors of Probate Estates, fees are specified by the Probate Code, as follows, based on the Fair Market Value of the Probate Estate on the date of death, not offset by any liability:

  • 4% of the first $100,000 ($4000)
  • 3% of the next $100,000 ($3000)
  • 2% of the next $800,000 ($16,000)
  • 1% of the next $9 Million (up to $90,000)
  • 0.5% of the next $15 Million (up to $75,000)
  • Above $25 Million: Reasonable amount to be determined by the Court. 

What complications are associated with probate?

Probate can be a very long drawn out and costly process. Additionally, it is a court administered and public process. Furthermore, a decedent’s assets may be given to someone who was never intended to inherit.

Why do I need a probate attorney?

Probate is a court administered process with many court deadlines and legal documents. It is best to have an experienced probate attorney help you with the process.

Words from our clients

Deidre and her team did not skip a beat! You would have thought they have been working under pandemic conditions for years. They were that organized. Anyway, we have our trust AND will (who knew we needed a trust? Deidre, that's who!) and that is one major thing off our major life to-do list. All this to say I definitely recommend Deidre and her team!

Mallory G.

From our first meeting, the team of lawyers and legal assistants have been straightforward, fastidious, and gentle on our souls. Nobody likes to talk about the amount of work settling an estate takes, nor also planning what is meant to happen when we can't take care of ourselves. They have made the process of settling our parents' estate and simultaneously creating our own trusts, relatively easy.

S. Katz

Deidre did an amazing job updating our wills and trusts. She is very thorough and organized. I would highly recommend her to anyone looking for a wills/trust attorney.

Shannon C.

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