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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    11

    Default Final Accounting of Trust Estate Distribution

    My widowed mother died 7/06. Her estate is in CA. My sister and I are the beneficiaries of the estate. My sister is the trustee of the estate. Her husband, a CPA, is handling the accounting for the estate. Both my sister and her husband had been handling my motherís personal and financial affairs for the 3 Ĺ years prior to her death. These are my questions:
    1. Must my brother-in-law share the accounting with me prior to submitting it to the State, or can he do so without my approval?
    2. Can I expect a detailed accounting with bank statements to verify his figures, and will the time frame simply begin at date-of-death, or go back to when they had control of her finances? I have reason to expect seal-dealing, so I find this to be quite important.
    3. Are there Codes that I should familiarize myself with for this process?
    4. What is my recourse if I do not agree with the final accounting?
    5. Approximately how long does it take to hear back from the State, and is this also when we are notified of any estate tax?
    6. When is the actual distribution made to the beneficiaries?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    194

    Default Re: Final Accounting of Trust Estate Distribution

    Quote Quoting scarlet0314
    View Post
    My widowed mother died 7/06. Her estate is in CA. My sister and I are the beneficiaries of the estate. My sister is the trustee of the estate. Her husband, a CPA, is handling the accounting for the estate. Both my sister and her husband had been handling my motherís personal and financial affairs for the 3 Ĺ years prior to her death. These are my questions:
    1. Must my brother-in-law share the accounting with me prior to submitting it to the State, or can he do so without my approval?
    2. Can I expect a detailed accounting with bank statements to verify his figures, and will the time frame simply begin at date-of-death, or go back to when they had control of her finances? I have reason to expect seal-dealing, so I find this to be quite important.
    3. Are there Codes that I should familiarize myself with for this process?
    4. What is my recourse if I do not agree with the final accounting?
    5. Approximately how long does it take to hear back from the State, and is this also when we are notified of any estate tax?
    6. When is the actual distribution made to the beneficiaries?

    Are you talking about an estate or a trust? Because there is no such thing as a trustee of an estate.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Final Accounting of Trust Estate Distribution

    Sorry, I'm getting confused with the terminology. My mother has a trust (& a will) and my sister is named the trustee. Since our mother passed away, the term to still use in regards to my sister capicity is still trustee? I'm not sure when executrix is used? When one refers to "estate" does that refer to the assets? My mother has a list of assets listed in the trust. She had opened several accounts after she had made the trust and the trust was not named on those several accounts. My sister contacted an attorney to have those accounts added to the trust assets. There is one bank checking and savings account that my sister has not petitioned to be added to the trust. She is joint on that account so she felt no need to notify the bank and is using that account to conduct business, including depositing rents from peoperty listed in the trust. The account that's not in the trust is part of the estate. Perhaps that adds to my confusion. I appreciate your patience and I'm looking forward to your reply regarding the final accounting.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    194

    Default Re: Final Accounting of Trust Estate Distribution

    Quote Quoting scarlet0314
    View Post
    Sorry, I'm getting confused with the terminology. My mother has a trust (& a will) and my sister is named the trustee. Since our mother passed away, the term to still use in regards to my sister capicity is still trustee? I'm not sure when executrix is used? When one refers to "estate" does that refer to the assets? My mother has a list of assets listed in the trust. She had opened several accounts after she had made the trust and the trust was not named on those several accounts. My sister contacted an attorney to have those accounts added to the trust assets. There is one bank checking and savings account that my sister has not petitioned to be added to the trust. She is joint on that account so she felt no need to notify the bank and is using that account to conduct business, including depositing rents from peoperty listed in the trust. The account that's not in the trust is part of the estate. Perhaps that adds to my confusion. I appreciate your patience and I'm looking forward to your reply regarding the final accounting.

    Ok ... if the accounts were not titled in the name of the trust, then someone needs to submit the will to probate and get the proper court documentation to be the executor. A will does NOT name the executor, all it does is nominate a person for the position. The probate judge, once the will has been filed for a probate hearing, will either confirm that person or appointed someone else.

    Second, check on that account you say has your sister's name on it .... whether or not it's a probate asset depends on how it's titled. If it's with 'right of suvivorship' then it passes to her outside of the claims of the estate or anyone else. If just joint tenants, then you need to check your state's statutes; some states have in their laws a presumption of 'right of survivorship' for joint accounts even if it's not expressly stated.

    Third, if she's depositing income assets of the trust into this, now, personal account then have your attorney petition the court to have her removed as trustee for breach of fiduciary responsibility. Include in the petition restitution for all converted assets.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Final Accounting of Trust Estate Distribution

    I appreciate your thoughtful reply.

    Four accounts were not titled in the name of the trust. My sister successfully petitioned to add three of those to the trust. The one in question was not included. To address your first comment, after reviewing the legal documents Iíve received, I do believe that the will was submitted to probate as I have a ďPetition for ProbateĒ stating that the will was admitted. Another document dated the same day has my sister referenced as the executrix, so she was affirmed. So, she is both the trustee and the executrix apparently.

    To your second point, how does one find-out if another personís joint account has Ďright to survivorshipí or not? This would seem to be information that a bank would not share with other parties. My sisterís husband who is a CPA is handling the accounting. He told me in writing that he is including this account as part of the trustís assets as of the date of my motherís death. I feel a sense of assurance by having that language, but why then was it not included as part of the trust when the other accounts were added? The reasoning provided to me was that she was afraid the bank would block usage of the account making payment of bills emanating from the trust or estate difficult. As I understand it, bills are paid from trust accounts, so I find this response a bit lacking.

    Thirdly, you bring-up a very interesting point for which I should supply more information. She is indeed depositing trust rental income into this account. That said, my mother had two properties, and per her trust, she designated that I get one, and my sister the other, this rental property. The trust states that we are to split everything equally, even down to getting appraisals on the properties and the sister with the higher valued property paying the difference to the other sister. My sister had said to me and others in the family that the rents would also get shared, like everything else. I then hear from her that the rental income generated after death belongs to her because of this probate code: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/di...le=16340-16341

    While this code certainly looks like it can be applicable, I am currently contesting this with her now as the trust does not specify this action, and it goes against what our mother said she wanted. If I understand correctly, a trustee has a duty to the trust, and a fiduciary responsibility to the beneficiaries. Knowing what our mother wanted, seeing how the trust epitomizes this equal distribution wish, and telling me previously the rents would be shared, just reinforces what should be done. The finding of a code that seemingly self-serves only is very discouraging to say the least. This is slightly off-topic for this thread, but I welcome any comments you might have.

    So, with this information I just shared, do you still feel that her depositing of income assets of the trust into this account merits a breach of fiduciary responsibility? Iím curious to hear your thoughts. Thanks once again.

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