A Step-by-Step Guide for Trustees and Successor Trustees of Revocable Trusts
During Joint Lifetimes of Trustors/Trustmakers
While both Trustors are alive and have capacity, there is no requirement for a separate tax return for the Trust, nor a separate Tax Identification Number. If one Trustor becomes incapacitated, the other Trustor, who is also a Trustee, having capacity, will continue to have complete management and control of all Trust Assets. A Successor Trustee managing Trust Assets for an incapacitated Trustor(s) has a fiduciary obligation to manage Trust assets in a manner which serves the best interest of the Trustor(s). To obtain access to Trust assets held by third parties (i.e., banks, stock brokerages, etc.), the Successor Trustee presents the institutions with a copy of the Certification of Trust, along with the physician's written statement indicating that the Trustor(s) are incapacitated.
Upon the Death of the First Trustor
1. Notify all successor trustees, beneficiaries and heirs at law. 2. Obtain certified copies of Trustor's death certificate from the County Office of Vital Records. 3. Deliver the deceased Trustor's Will to the Clerk of the Superior Court in the county where the deceased trustor lived. 4. Identify all assets and liabilities of the deceased Trustor. 5. Consult with an attorney experienced in Trust Administration to advise you regarding the specific requirements of the Trust. 6. Pay all taxes and debts of the deceased trustor before any distribution of the Trust Estate. 7. Distribute gifts which are to be made upon the death of the deceased Trustor.
Upon the Death of the Surviving Trustor
1. Follow the instructions included in the section "Upon the Death of the First Trustor." 2. File the final income tax return for the deceased Trustor when it is due. Consider filing a federal gift tax return within nine (9) months of the date of death. 3. Get a Tax Identification Number for the Estate of the Deceased Trustor. 4. Obtain control over Trust assets held by financial institutions using a Certification of Trust and a certified copy of the Death Certificate. 5. Pay all taxes and debts of the deceased Trustor before any distributions of the Trust estate. 6. Distribute remaining Trust assets to the beneficiaries pursuant to the terms of the Trust.
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