Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in California

inheriting real property

My mom died and left her home to me and my two underage children equally in her living trust. I am the new trustee. Do I keep the house? Sell it? Do I report it on my taxes? Do my kids need to file taxes?

Asked on 4/15/09, 6:09 pm

5 Answers from Attorneys


Re: inheriting real property

It is still held in trust. You may wish to have a consultation regarding your many issues and have the trust reviewed. Contact me directly.

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Answered on 4/16/09, 1:27 pm
Scott Linden Scott H. Linden, Esq.

Re: inheriting real property

What does the trust say? Does it require you to hold the home in trust for the benefit of your children? The terms of the trust are controlling.

Generally, you will be able to sell the home, but only n the best interests of the trust itself. As trustee, you are under a fiduciary duty to not commit waste. This is a duty owed to all beneficiaries, including yourself.

The trust should have its own Tax ID number so there is no tax reporting on your filing until you complete administering the trust. I do recommend you speak to an accountant regarding this issue as they are probably better versed in the Internal Revene Code than most attorneys.

Our office specializes in Estate Planning as well as the administering of trusts and trust assets, so, please, feel free to contact me directly if you would like to discuss this in a more private forum.

I can be reached directly at the email address provided by LawGuru or through our firmís website located at


No attorney-client nor confidential relationship is created through this communication. You may not rely in any way on this communication, and nothing herein constitutes legal advice nor legal opinion. Your issue may be time-sensitive and may result in a loss of rights if you do not obtain an attorney immediately.

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Answered on 4/16/09, 3:54 pm
Todd Stevenson Stevenson Law Office

Re: inheriting real property

Whether you keep the house or sell it depends on a lot of factors, including the language of the trust itself. There are a number of steps that must be taken to properly administer a trust after someone passes away. I suggest you consult with an attorney experienced in trust administration.

Feel free to call my office to schedule a consultation.

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Answered on 4/15/09, 8:08 pm
Phillip Lemmons, Esq. Phillip Lemmons APC, Attorneys at Law

Re: inheriting real property

Your questions cannot be answered with any certainty without additional information. If you'd like assistance administering the trust, or a one hour "meaningful" consultation, call me. The fee for a one hour consultation is $375. We can do this over the telephone or by office appointment. Whatever you perfer.

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Answered on 4/15/09, 8:53 pm
Michele Cusack Pollak & Cusack

Re: inheriting real property

The other attorneys are correct that you need legal representation, but I will still try to answer your question. If the trust does not address the question of whether to keep or sell the house, you can keep it if you think it is a good investment and/or a bad time to sell. As a trustee for your children, you have a generally have a duty to make the trust "productive" i.e. income producing and to keep trust assets reasonably and safely invested. If there is any income to the trust, you need a trust account with a separate tax ID number and to file a fiduciary income tax return. You may need separate tax ID numbers for each of your children's trusts, depending on the terms of the trust document. If you distribute income to or for your children's benefit, they may need their own tax returns, or it may be attributable to you, depending on their ages. Definitely, talk to a lawyer who can review the terms of the trust.

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Answered on 4/16/09, 12:48 am

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