I have a meeting this week with my dad's attorney, so hopefully this will all get straightened out then. Here's a private message I sent to JDCPAEsq and his reply.
Thank you for your advice. My dad and stepmom (both deceased) did have a will and a revocable living trust. I am the successor trustee of the A trust. A family friend is the successor trustee of the B trust. There are 4 beneficiaries.
I'm confused as to the difference between the executor and the successor trustee. When I see there is an executor of the will and a trustee of the trust, it seems like they are two different people (or I can see how 1 person can be named to do both). Who is the person who collects the assets, pays the bills, opens the checking account for the trust, etc - the executor or the successor trustee?
Should the bank allow me to set up a checking account for the A trust since I am the successor trustee and if I have a proper EIN?
I have one more question. It took my dad's brokerage 2 months to send me and the other beneficiaries the paperwork to retitle my dad's assets. We signed it and sent it back, but haven't received a dollar yet. Most of this money is passing to us "by contract" and it is not in the trust. However, some cash from the brokerage is being used to fund the A trust and the B trust. If it takes this long for me to get the money to fund the A trust, I don't see how it is possible for me not to use that joint checking account to pay my dad's mortgage, utilities, etc. I realize how I am causing a mess as you pointed out, but if I shouldn't use my own money to pay the bills, I don't know where else I can get money to pay the bills.
Would you please advise.
Thanks for your note. It might be easier to post it on the board and then I could reply there along with others.
I'm confused as to the estate plan. Your say your father and stepmother are now both deceased. Also you say there is an A and B trust. A & B trusts normally are for a surviving spouse and then terminate at the death of the spouse. Is that the case here? Are both trusts in the process of terminating or do they continue on? Also, you mention property passing by contract. Was the brokerage account set up with you and maybe others as beneficiaries?
The executor and successor trustee are two different roles. The executor manages the estate which includes all property in the name of the decedent but which would exclude jointly held property and property passing by contract such as a "Transfer on Death" designation of a brokerage account.
Normally the executor collects all assets in the name of the decedent and pays all debts of the decedent from those assets as well as expenses of administering the estate. Any remaining assets usually pour over into the trusts and the estate is then closed. Because of cash not being available it is sometimes done that a family member will pay debts of the estate but then should later be reimbursed.
You are correct that if you are the trustee and have a trust ID number the bank should allow you to set up an account for the trust. You might not need a checking account, however if you have a brokerage account for the trust.