Living Trust Administration Basics

What to do when your parent dies with a living trust


If your parent passes away, there are things you will need to do, even if he or she has a living trust. But not immediately. Take the time to attend to family matters. We tell our clients to take care of the funeral or other arrangements. The funeral home will order death certificates for you. We recommend you order at least ten.

The trust administration can wait while you give yourself and your family time to grieve and celebrate the life of your parent.

Usually a few weeks later is soon enough to sort out the estate issues. If your mom or dad had a living trust and had transferred their assets to the trust, then hopefully the trust administration will go smoothly. Here is a short list of things that must be done:

  • Lodge the pour-over will with the county probate court.
  • Mail notice to the California Department of Health Care Services.
  • Send a statutory notice to the trust beneficiaries.
  • Send copies of the trust to beneficiaries if they request one.
  • Make a list of the estate assets and values and creditors and debts.
  • Keep track of all expense payments. Beneficiaries may ask for an accounting.
  • If your parent owned real property, you have to decide to sell it our transfer title to the beneficiaries.

If your mom or dad did not have a living trust, and he or she owned a house or had assets worth more than $184,500 (the California probate threshold), then you will probably have to take the estate through probate, which greatly escalates the cost and complexity.

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