How Long to Distribute Trust Assets

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How Long Does a Trustee Have to Settle an Estate

Most Trusts take 12 months to 18 months to settle and distribute assets to the beneficiaries and heirs. What determines how long a Trustee takes will depend on the complexity of the estate where properties and other assets may have to be bought or sold before distribution to the Beneficiaries.

Probate Topics, Probate Litigation 



How Long Does a Trustee Have to Distribute Assets

If the Trustee violates their fiduciary duty, they can be sued civilly and can be considered a form of embezzlement. So with that said, what is an average time to distribute trust assets? The average time to distribute trust assets ranges from 12 months to 18 months.

Living Trust Distribution Time Limit



How long does it take to settle an estate for the final distribution of estate assets

First and foremost, Trust distributions to of assets to beneficiaries take time due to meeting tax liabilities, debtor liabilities, and so forth in the state of California.

So is there a living trust distribution time limit? Well, you see, if the Trustee distributes any assets (partial distribution of inheritance) “before” a complete transparent trust administration process, it can be construed as a breach of fiduciary duty. If the Trustee violates their fiduciary duty, they can be sued civilly and can be considered a form of embezzlement. So with that said, what is an average time to distribute trust assets? The average time to distribute trust assets ranges from 12 months to 18 months.  

Why does it take so long to settle an estate with a Trust to the beneficiaries and heirs?

Initially, when the grantor passes, the Trustee has to jump in and begin doing the initial steps of the trust administration process. Now, depending on how many properties that need distribution, sold, etc.. will determine the inheritance distribution timeframe.

So as a Trustee, you have some time to start on the simple aspects such as the following:

  1. Get the death certificate: You will need to get as many original death certificates when settling a trust after death based on how many bank accounts, properties, etc., you must receive the original death certificates.
  2. Contact Social Security if necessary: Many times, a check might need to be returned based on when the SSI check was received, i.e., after the death of the grantor.
  3. Inventory Trust Assets: It takes time to collect all assets, documents, etc., and control them, so no loss of assets occurs.
  4. Review Trust Investments: Depending on the number of investments can complicate matters. Many times a financial advisor may be necessary to understand the ramifications of selling, reinvesting, etc.
  5. Set up a Record-keeping system: Setting up bookkeeping is the foundation of the trust administration process.  
  6. Identify all beneficiaries and heirs: To add to the time, the Trustee will need to contact the heirs and beneficiaries as to the status of the Trust process. There is a reasonable time frame; the Trustee must get back with the Beneficiary with answers.

The above list is just a preview of the full breadth of steps of an accurately complete trust administration process.

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How long does it take to get an inheritance?

What if the Beneficiary has been waiting for more than 18 months?

If you are the Beneficiary, hopefully, you have been in the loop of the current standings. If not, then, you will need to start by gathering information like the following:

  1. Copy of the Trust
  2. Banking information
  3. Asset updates

A good practice at this point, i.e., 18 months waiting, is to meet with an estate planning lawyer who dedicates themselves in trust litigation. You see, if in fact, you are 18 months, and have No knowledge of breach has occurred, then you are simply in a waiting game. If, however, you have seen warning signs of misappropriation of trust funds, or lack of transparency, you may need to seek counsel. Take away: Make sure you have already created a dialogue with the Trustee to show the courts you have been “reasonable” in your approach, and now it’s time for full transparency. 

Can I sue the Trustee of a Trust?

If you are an heir or a Beneficiary, and you feel there has been a mishandling of the trust assets, it’s imperative to seek legal counsel.

Now, as a beneficiary, you have to be reasonable for allowing the Trustee to meet timeframes, etc.

For example: Within 60 days after taking the responsibility of the Trust, the Trustee shall give notice to the qualified beneficiaries of the acceptance and their full name and address of the Trustee. 

Within 60 days once the Trustee requires knowledge of the creation of the irrevocable Trust, whether they learned it by the death of the settlor or any other means, the Trustee shall give notice of the identity of the settlor, a right to request a copy of the trust instrument, and the right to an accounting. 

Now, if the Trustee feels they have been reasonable and have been meeting the objectives of the Trustee, you will need to go to court to prove the breach of fiduciary duty.

How to Request an accounting of an estate

If you believe the Trustee of the family trust has mismanaged funds, assets, etc., you will need to consult an estate planning attorney who focuses primarily on trust and estate litigation.  

Here are some questions that a Hess-Verdon Attorney will ask you:

Do you have a copy of the Trust? Was it received within the last six months?

Have you requested bank records, asset valuations? Is everything written and dated?

Are there any in Terrorem clauses?

When was the Trust created?

Was there theft from the estate before inventory?

Was the grantor in the right mind when creating a Trust? Was there dementia when the Trust was created?

Are you receiving updates from the Trustee?

What makes you think there is Misappropriation of Trust funds?

The above questions are just a few questions a Hess-Verdon attorney will ask. You can take advantage of the current No Obligation, Free Consultation case review. Within an hour, you will know if you have any grounds to stand on.

Now, we understand this is a trying time, especially that the grantor has just passed away and including fraudulent acts for favoring the Trustee and not the beneficiaries.

Choosing the Right Trust Estate Litigation Lawyer is Crucial

Searching for an Orange County Trust Litigation attorney?  Hess-Verdon & Associates is one of the most knowledgable and most sophisticated trusts and estate law firm in the state of California at both the trial and appellate levels.

Our legal team of Trust Attorneys in Orange County, are well versed in estate planning, trust administration, and trust litigation.

Our viewpoint is the following:  Aggressive legal representation with a team of experts that protect you, our preferred client, with current tax and estate planning strategies.

Our litigation team has spent years acquiring extensive experience in trial preparation, strategy, and trial presentation to help you with your specific case. 

We welcome the opportunity to discuss your needs, our qualifications, staffing approaches, and rate structures with a view toward the successful resolution of Estateand trust-related matters.

Learn more about our Living Trust Attorneys.

What Is Trust Litigation?

Trust litigation is where a Beneficiary or Trustee or even an heir of a Trust feel their legal rights are trampled upon and need legal counsel to represent them in court. Typically the trust litigation is between the Trustee vs. the Beneficiary/heir. Many issues can arise, and mostly due to transparency, i.e., the beneficiary feels the Trustee may be self-dealing. Self-dealing is where the Trustee puts their needs and wants before the Beneficiaries. Now, the Trustee knows they have the fiduciary duty to put everyone above their self-interest first and to comply with the wishes of the Trustor. 

Now, after legal discovery, both parties will be asked to do the following:

  • Mediate
  • Arbitrate
  • Litigate

Trust litigation is by far the most costly and can drain the estate assets. If you are a Trustee and or Beneficiary, best to keep communication open at all times with proper bookkeeping.  

Why Consider hiring Hess-Verdon trust litigation attorneys

We work efficiently to help individuals, families, fiduciaries, organization with the following:

  • Trustees
  • Beneficiaries
  • Individuals and families
  • Banks
  • Trust Companies
  • Charitable entities
  • Family Offices
  • Corporate Fiduciaries
  • Corporate Trustees
  • Business Owners

Here at Hess-Verdon, we counsel clients on various aspects of estate disputes. Such as investigating potential claims, evaluating the merits of bringing a claim, filing or defending a claim, and when necessary litigating a claim through trial or settlement.

With our expert team of trust litigators, in many instances, we can settle such proceedings without going to trial after taking into account the merits of the positions advanced by the respective parties and the tax rules applicable.  

Rest assured, the Hess-Verdon team is here to help you. Unlike some other law firms, we are a full-service firm. Handling thousands of probate and trust litigation cases helps us know exactly steps are crucial for your case.

Visit us in Fashion Island in Newport Beach. If you believe you need a team of attorneys, paralegals, and helpful, caring staff, then read on.

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