What are a trustee’s rights and responsibilities regarding taking money out from the Trust for necessary expenses?

I am Trustee and paid the space-rent for my mother’s mobile home for the first time since her death. The home still contains personal property of her estate, but after she died the mobile home passed to me automatically. Included in the rent are: previous month’s utility bills (gas, elect, water, trash), and a monthly rent fee for a storage unit here in the park (that has more of her estate items in it). I thought that it would be acceptable to take an advance from the Trust to pay the rent (et al) bill and simply account for the money in my accounting log, and at disbursement simply take that amount less so us 3 beneficiaries still end up with equal amount. Was this wrong to do?

Asked on November 17, 2014 under Estate Planning, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  I would strongly suggest that you seek the help of a Trust accounting firm or accountant to help you with this.  Generally you as the trustee can pay the bills of the decedent due at the time of her death.  If the mobile home passed to you then so did the bills associated with it after her death.  In other words, you should have changed over the gas, electric, space rent, etc. to your name and you should have e been responsible (if i understand the question correctly.  The trust really determines what is to be done). You need to account very carefully and my concern is if the transfer were seen as improper by the other trust beneficiaries it could be considered a breach of trust by you.  Please get help.  Good luck.

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