I am the trustee of my deceased parents’. What do I do?

If they have a trust and everything is done correctly then we don’t have to go to court.

Do I need an attorney?

That’s a common meeting that we have with our clients and with people who have done a trust other places because mom might have lived in Santa Barbara, but the kids live closer to us.

A trustee’s job is the same as the person who is on probate. They have to wind up the affairs of the person but they don’t have to go through court. That doesn’t mean they don’t need our help but if they do, it’s typically about one-tenth of the cost of what a probate fee would be. It’s also nowhere near the time because it usually takes just as long to get the accounts, clean up, and sell the house.

But there are times when there’s a business that they need help with. An example of this is when there’s a business that is part of a trust and there are specific provisions. The client came to us and said, “I don’t know how to run a business that does, fill in the blank,” and so we said, “Alright. We can help you with that.”

So it is always good to ask if you need a lawyer because I’d say about half the time we tell them, “No, all you had to do is take a cup of coffee and go on your way,” but when they do, I say, “Here’s why you would need us. Here’s what we think it might cost,” and usually again it’s about one-tenth of what it would cost if you were in probate.

You are going to save so much time if you have a trust.

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