Expectations For Trust Administration

Hi there. My name is Bridget Mackay. I’m an attorney in Petaluma, California, and I practice in the area of estate planning and elder law, and today I want to talk to you a little bit about expectations. This comes from a situation I had in my own practice where I had a trustee who had beneficiaries. The folks had died, and the trustee was getting calls from the people that were named in the trust, their siblings and other folks that were named, wondering, “Where’s our money?” The one thing you have to remember, that although a trust allows you to avoid probate, which is a time-lengthy process for getting assets out after someone dies to their heirs, there still are time limits on a trust. So it’s very important if you are a trustee or you are a beneficiary to recognize that the process is going to take some time.

On average, in my practice, trust administrations, which is what it’s called, often take somewhere between a year to two years to complete. If the estate is more complicated, either because the assets are greater, or they’re more complicated assets, or the beneficiaries are greater in number, or any other reason, it could take longer. So just all of you trustees out there and you beneficiaries who are waiting to get your money, know and give yourself some time, and allow time to be made for all the administrative processes that the trustee and his or her attorney need to go through. So don’t think when someone dies you’re going to be getting money in the next month, or the next week, or immediately. Everything has a process in this. So thank you.

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