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Perhaps you have just faced the pain of losing a loved one, and you are beginning to look at the steps you must take following a death in California. If you were named as the Trustee of your loved one’s Estate, it can be more than a little stressful going through their things, finding their financials and deeds, paying their debts, paying their taxes, administering the Will and Living Trust they left behind, canceling subscriptions, closing bank accounts, and distributing assets to all their beneficiaries in a fair and legal way. It’s often a long process, requiring a year or more—so brace yourself and try to relax. This is going to take time and it’s going to take patience. You should also immediately consider getting professional help with Trust Administration in California through an estate legal firm like ours. CunninghamLegal provides complete Trust Administration Services in California, regardless of where you as a Trustee are located–and we often work with people located out of state. Please consider contacting us right away when you become the Trustee of an Estate in California. Regardless of your choice on how to move forward, there are some key facts and key steps you need to keep in mind. What Does a Trustee Have to Do? Does a New Trustee Have to Go to Probate? Let’s assume that your loved one left behind a signed Living Trust, along with a Last Will & Testament, which has been structured as a “Pour-Over Will.” If so, you should be enormously grateful. We haven’t space in this article to deal with cases in which no trust has been left behind. Just know that in most states, including California, if there’s no trust, you must go to Probate Court. Indeed, if certain classes of assets are left out of a Trust, or if minors require guardianship, you will still need to go to probate—where we strongly suggest legal representation. You can learn more about Probate Court in California here.

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