Q: As successor trustee of my mother's revocable trust, am I required to transfer title of her property?
My mother passed away a month ago. I am successor trustee of her revocable trust and executor of her will (she resided in AZ). I plan on selling her property right away. Am I required to transfer title in c/o my name as TTE? It was suggested I file informal probate bc she owed a substantial amount of debt but I don't know who the creditors are. The informal probate process would require me to publish and creditors would have 4 mo to file a claim or forever be barred. What are the pros and cons of informal probate? Is this a wise decision, as she has an existing/recorded trust? Her car is only item not in the trust. Does her pour-over-will now include it in the trust upon her death and I can sell it as trustee? EDITED TO ADD: Her home is in the trust. Her creditors are unknown to me, my mom prev told me she was in the process of bankruptcy but had not filed w/court. Her bankruptcy atty retired last week and won't release her file to me. It's documented in an email.
A: There is a piece of information that may missing from your question. That is, whether the property was in the name of the trust or her name only. The answer to that question will help guide your question about which direction you have to go. If the house is in fact in the trust which your question seems to imply then you have to administer the trust and do not have the option of probate as least based on the information you provide.
More importantly, you cannot avoid the creditors claims and will have to notify them about the death. While you may be able to negotiate with them, if you ignore them you face potential liability if you do not act properly as a trustee.
You really should discuss this with counsel before moving forward.
Ryan K Hodges agrees with this answer
A: If the assets are still titled to your mom personally, then you may need to file a probate to transfer them to the trust. If they are already titled to the trust, then you do not need to retitle them with you as trustee. However, you should inform banks that you are now the acting trustee.
Filing for probate can provide protection against creditors due to the notices that are required. The trust code actually provides similar protections if you publish notice even though you do not file a probate with the court.
If the car is the only item out of the trust, you can look into transferring it to the trust via small estate affidavit and the pour-over will.
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