Attorneys at Law                                           

925-831-0636

​​Hyden Zakheim, LLP


Providing effective representation locally, since 1991.

Trust Administration After the Death of Your Spouse or a Loved One

We are often asked if it’s necessary for a surviving spouse to come into the office after the death of their spouse.  This is a very difficult time for widows and widowers and it is often helpful to get a big picture idea of the required trust administrative steps early on to avoid confusion and undue worry.  We’re here to assist you during this time and can work with your timeline.  Sometimes spouses prefer to come in very soon after the death of their spouse, sometimes spouses prefer to wait several weeks.  The timing is up to you but we recommend that you contact us within a month of your spouse’s passing.

Please note that we are also able to assist you in the case of the death of a loved one (such as a parent, sibling, etc.) or friend.  If you are the named successor trustee in the trust document or if none of the named trustees are able to act as trustee, please contact us when you are ready to move forward.  As when a spouse passes away, we recommend that you contact us within in a month of death.

Our first step is to review the trust and advise you as to the specific requirements of the existing trust document and any requirements imposed by the California probate code that may not be evident by reading the trust document.  We will also review title to the assets.  This process is a good idea even if you feel there is no trust administration work to be accomplished (for example if you have do not have mandatory sub-trusts upon the death of the first spouse).  We recommend that you come to your first appointment with a complete copy of the trust, including any amendments or restatements, your spouse’s or other loved one’s will, a death certificate, and copies of your bank statements and other asset information.    Please also let us know if the decedent owned any real property.

In our first appointment with you we will give you a general overview of the trust administration process as well as note any other administrative steps that may be necessary for property held outside of the trust (such as real property held as community property with right of survivorship or joint tenancy).

For more information, please call us at (925) 831-0636.