If a person who dies had a properly drafted and funded trust, probate is generally not required. Unlike a will, a trust is a private document and isn't required to be filed with the probate court. California law does require the successor trustee to take certain steps to administer the trust: Beneficiaries must be contacted and kept informed; the trust-maker's assets gathered and invested; and debts paid; potential creditors notified; taxes filed and paid; assets and/or income distributed in conformity with trust provisions to beneficiaries. This process is called "Trust Administration" and ordinarily is completed sooner and with less expense than with the probate of a will.
Most trustees lack the knowledge to personally administer the trust. Trustees may call upon legal, accounting and investment professionals for assistance. Our office can help successor trustee(s) deal with the complexities of trust administration.