Trust administration is the private alternative to Probate. It involves transferring control of trust assets to the Successor Trustee. The Successor Trustee is then responsible for notifying the beneficiaries of the Settlor’s death, collecting and accounting for the Trust Estate assets, paying taxes and the administration expenses, and distributing the Trust Estate assets according to the terms of the trust agreement.
The Successor Trustee is not legally required to retain an attorney to assist with administering the trust, but many choose to do so. This is because trust administration is highly regulated by the IRS and California law, so the expertise of an estate planning attorney is strongly recommended.