Trust Administration

After the death of the trustor (the person who created the trust), certain steps must be taken to comply with state law, to preserve the federal estate tax exclusion amount, and to change title to assets. This is called "trust administration," and the complexity of the administration depends on the number and type of assets, their total value, and whether the trust includes tax planning provisions.

What has to be done?

Major assets must be appraised and an inventory must be prepared to determine the net worth of the decedent for federal estate tax purposes.  If the estate of the decedent is valued at more than $11.7 million (for decedents who die after Dec. 31, 2020), a federal estate tax return must be filed. Income tax returns also must be filed for the estate and for the decedent. If the trust became all or partially irrevocable as a result of the death, the decedent's heirs and trust beneficiaries must be notified of that fact and given an opportunity to request copies of the trust.  State law also requires that the decedent's will be filed with the Superior Court in the county in which the decedent was living.  A notice that the death has occurred also must be sent to the County Assessor of each county where the decedent owned real property.

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