California  |  Wills and Trusts

Legal Question

Asked on: 2/22/11, 7:28 pm

What is the general procedure for personal trust dispersal? My elderly mother has had most of her assets (a house, a trust account, and a couple of annuities) in a trust for us 3 daughters. Two additional checking accounts (not in the trust), from which she draws her costs of living, have we daughters already as co-signers. A separate generic letter of intent, which she has been refining with us over the last 5 years, indicates a few charities to receive donations (approximately 10% of her estate), with the remainder to be divided 4 ways - 25% to each of we 3 daughters and the last 25% to be divided among 4 grandchildren. What are the inheritance/income tax liabilities for this scenario? Do the 3 daughters each receive 1/3 of the trust amounts, as liquidated, and accompanying tax liabilities, then after taxes give 1/3 of the donations that she wishes? Or, can the donations and grandchildren's portions be distributed prior to each of the daughters receiving their thirds, therefore with smaller inheritance/income tax liabilities? As current co-signers of her daily checking accounts may we, at her death, immediately use them to continue paying her bills and tying up ends of her estate? Thank you for any information/references you may be able to provide.

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