What’s the Difference Between Probate and Trust Administration?

You’ve heard of both probate and trust administration. Are they the same? How do you know which one applies to you? Perhaps a loved one has died, but you don’t know your next steps. The main difference between probate and trust administration is that probate is typically for people who owned assets at the time of their death that did not automatically transfer to their loved ones through joint ownership or a beneficiary designation, or a trust. In the absence of these plans, what you are left to do is have your estate pass through the probate process primarily dictated by the courts and California Law.

Probate Administration

Probate is a very long and expensive court-supervised process. It’s open and public and can be two to three years long. The decedent’s heirs must pay a court filing fee and other costs to the probate court to oversee the distribution of the decedent’s assets. Not to mention, if a person dies without a will, the court will determine how these assets are distributed based on the state’s intestate succession laws. Most estate plans contain a will, but other estate planning documents, such as trusts, may also be utilized, depending on the kind and amount of the estate. According to California’s intestate rules, kinship often chooses the sequence of bequests without adequate documentation (for example, wills or trusts).

When it comes to estate planning, estate administration is a crucial step that may be challenging if you are unprepared. The key to carrying out the final desires of the deceased is to identify the assets in a person’s estate and manage those assets in the manner specified by a will or trust. The estate management procedure may be carried out efficiently, with complete assurance that the decedent’s intentions are honored, and with the assistance of a skilled California estate planning lawyer.

Trust Administration

Trust administration, on the other hand, is a more private and expedited process than the estate administration process. It’s closed to the public, and it’s what families go through if their loved one had a trust before they passed away. Unlike with intestate probate administration, where you can’t choose your heirs, with a trust, you can decide who your money goes to and on what terms, and who you want to be in charge of everything. It also costs a fraction of the cost of probate.  The trustee will administer the trust following California law once the grantor has passed away. Multiple responsibilities are involved in administering a trust, so it’s crucial to seek the guidance of an accomplished California trust administration lawyer at each level.

The trustee will have several duties upon the death of the trust grantor, including:

  • Notifying the appropriate people and authorities
  • Assembling and arranging crucial papers
  • Evaluating and recording trust assets
  • Taking care of your federal tax obligations
  • Communicating with the decedent’s creditors
  • Safeguarding trust resources and paying relevant obligations
  • Giving beneficiaries access to trust funds

Contact a California Estate Planning Attorney

When constructing a schedule for the California trust administration procedure, trustees must be aware of many deadlines. An extensive list of difficult administrative and accounting chores may be required for the appropriate administration of a trust, which may be a complex process. A California attorney who is an expert in estate planning may assist you in many ways, including helping you to prioritize your goals, resolve conflicts, and get answers to challenging tax and legal concerns.

A trust must be properly managed and administered, which calls for bookkeeping, a sharp eye for legal specifics, and familiarity with state-specific estate law. It is best to enlist the assistance of a California estate planning attorney if you want to be sure that you are not held accountable for the consequences of a simple typing error or something far worse. The estate planning process isn’t always easy, but it is a necessary step to avoid further complications after your death.

Let us help you. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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