Q: Dad has a living trust in CA with all the assets re-titled to the name of the trust and I am named as the successor..
Dad has a living trust in CA with all the assets re-titled to the name of the trust and I am named as the successor trustee. He also has a "pour over" will, just to transfer any property not already in the trust to the trust in which I am named the Executor. Upon his death, do I need to “lodge” the “pour over” will with the court in order to act on behalf of his estate?
A: You are supposed to lodge the will with the court, independent of whether a proceeding will be filed or not. It is not necessary for a court to appoint a trustee who is named as successor, but it is necessary for a court to appoint an executor. You should consult an attorney; there are possible shortcuts, simplified proceedings, or even the possibility of no proceeding being necessary.
Sally Bergman agrees with this answer
A: California Probate Code Section 8200(a) requires that the person in possession of the will lodge it with the clerk of the superior court in the county in which the decedent resided within 30 days of learning of the death. You should consult with an attorney who can assist you in properly administering the trust.
You are required to lodge the Will with the court but lodging it has nothing to do with your ability to act as trustee. As long as all assets are in the trust no probate will need to be opened. If you have assets that did to make their way into the trust before death other than household/personal property items of inconsequential value, you should consult with a trust attorney to determine if you need to take any action to get them in the trust so you can manage them as trustee. There are also various notices that a trustee needs to give to beneficiaries to avoid disputes so it wouldn't hurt to consult with a trust attorney to make sure you are doing everything they way you should.
Best of luck,
Priscilla Madrid, JD, LLM Estate Planning and Elder Law
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