Estate Administration

Comparison: Estate administration WITH and WITHOUT a Revocable Trust
WITH Recovable Trust WITHOUT Recovable Trust
Management during life Assets can be managed as easily as with any brokerage account. If you need (or want) someone to manage the assets in the trust, you can name someone as successor trustee at anytime. Business as usual.
Estate Planning Pour-Over Will takes whatever assets are not in trust and places them in Revocable Trust. Revocable Trust spells out beneficiaries. Last Will does all the work. All planning is public.
Income Tax issues You can use your own social security number for a Revocable Trust. The IRS ignores revocable trusts. Business as usual.
Estate Administration There is no estate administration for assets in trust. Estate administration must occur for each asset. Thus, stock must be re-titled, CDs and bank accounts must be closed, estate accounts must be opened, etc. Accountings on all estate assets are due to clerk (requiring an application, 90-day inventory, annual accountings and final account). Clerk must receive backup on all accountings (cancelled checks or receipts). Receipts from beneficiaries must be received. Many payments require the Clerk’s approval.
Management after Death The trust continues after your death. The new trustee can act instantly to pay bills and expenses. All debts and expenses are privately paid. Assets cannot be managed until Executor qualifies with the Clerk of Court. All assets and debts are public record.
Real property Management of real property is much more flexible with a revocable trust. Any rent can still go to the trust. Personal property can be used for real estate expenses. If desired, real property can go to one beneficiary, with personal property (cash or stock) to another beneficiary. The Trustee can sell real property without court approval. Real estate cannot be managed by Executor. Real property goes automatically to the beneficiaries, and any subsequent deed requires each beneficiary’s spouse’s signature. Personal property cannot be used for real estate expenses. To sell real estate for estate expenses requires court approval.
Real estate in other state or country Trustee can manage property instantly after death. If assets are in another state, estate process must be begun there. Generally, that requires an attorney in that state be involved, as different rules will apply.
Probate Fees No costs. $4 per $1,000. Thus, for every million of personal property, the cost is $4,000 at the death of each spouse. An estate of $1.5 million could cost a husband and wife $12,000 in fees.
Creditor issues All creditors must be paid. All creditors must be paid.