I’m A San Diego
Trustee, Now What?
As the person that is legally obligated to carry out the wishes of your loved one, your responsibilities are frequently sensitive and can become complex and time-consuming.
As a San Diego Trustee, your duties will include addressing all the legal and tax matters, as well as, helping the family members feel comfortable throughout the days, week and months ahead. In the early days, you’ll want to:
- Review and understand the San Diego trust terms
- Take possession of the trust assets including all real estate holdings, investment portfolios, business interests, insurance policies, retirement plans and all personal valuables
- You’ll develop a plan for federal, state income, and the estate taxes
- Meet with family members and beneficiaries
- Coordinate appraisals and asset valuation
- Develop the San Diego trust administration action plan
- Understand the carrying out of legal matters by coordinating with legal counsel
- Keep accurate records of accounting details
As the person that the decedent appointed to carry out their wishes, you’ll have the responsibility to:
- Respect the family legacy
- Avoid conflicts of interest
- Maintain the San Diego trust affairs confidentiality
- Make decisions that reflect the wishes of the San Diego trustor
- Protect the San Diego estate in any manner necessary
My client, Kathy was sharing with me when becoming the San Diego trustee for her sister’s San Diego estate, how she had to hone the following skills:
- Good accounting and bookkeeping
- Maintaining accurate records for all income and expenses
- Prepare and distribute periodic accountings to the beneficiaries or court
- Prepare and file income tax returns
- Distribute funds per the trust
Kathy shared that she really didn’t have experience in managing an estate. Her sister had children that lived out of state, and she had to explain the process to them via email and phone calls. It was a challenge to help the beneficiaries understand the timeline of settling the estate because it was many months to just get to the point of readying the decedent’s home for sale. As one of the largest assets in the San Diego trust, it was a process and an expense to prepare the home for the highest price and best terms sale. Once the San Diego trust home was sold, the process of closing the estate also took months. Kathy believes that her biggest responsibility was teaming with the best professionals, including my team, keeping all the children informed of her progress, and remaining calm.
So, this is an overview of some details when becoming a San Diego trustee entails. Each San Diego estate is unique, and having a trusted team to lead, guide and protect you as the San Diego trustee, will help you to “press the easy button”.