If you’ve been named a trustee, you should get in touch with a trust administration lawyer. Trust administration is a serious process, and if you fail to follow all the steps in accordance with the last wishes of the decedent, you could be sued.
As a trust attorney, like one from a firm like Yee Law Group, P.C. can explain, managing a trust takes a lot of work. If you’ve been named in charge of a trust, you have to do all you can to manage it properly, and you have to follow all the terms and conditions that have been left behind for you.
But what does trust administration entail? Such an important process deserves a breakdown so you can fully understand your responsibilities. Read on to learn more about the ins and outs of trust administration, and see how a trust attorney can help you stay out of trouble.
What Does Trust Administration Entail?
If you’ve read about wills, you’ve most likely heard about probate already. Probate is the process through which a will is authenticated and assets are distributed amongst beneficiaries, and trust administration is a lot like probate – just with less steps and less chances for infighting.
The first step of trust administration is tracking down all the important documentation. This will give you an idea of what assets are in the trust and what the decedent wanted you to do with those assets after they died. It’s also important from a legal standpoint: You’ll have the documentation on hand to prove that you’ve been acting in the right.
You can use the documents as a roadmap for the next step: Securing the assets. Not only will you have to track down and secure the assets, you’ll need them to be properly valued by an outside professional. It’s your job to make sure nothing happens to the assets before they’re delivered to the intended recipient, and it’s also your job to make sure they have the right values.
After you’ve custodied the assets, the next step is informing beneficiaries – and creditors. You’ll have to keep in touch with the beneficiaries, and if they request any paperwork, you’ll have to provide them with copies for their own records. In fact, you might want to do this whether they ask for it or not. As for the creditors, it’s common for people to pass away without paying off all their debts. They’ll have to be paid one way or another.
That’s where the next step comes in: Squaring away the final expenses and outstanding debts of the decedent. You’ll have to file the decedent’s final tax return, and you’ll also have to settle any outstanding debts with creditors. Finally, you’ll need to pay for any funerary expenses like cremation or burial.
After you’ve jumped through all these hoops, it’s finally time to distribute the contents of the trust. Trust administration takes a long time, and it may take even longer if there are special instructions about when beneficiaries should receive their assets. Sometimes assets are released as soon as possible, and other times they’re released when a recipient reaches a certain age.
Contact a Trust Attorney Today
Despite how long this process takes, trust administration is still a necessity. Everyone deserves their fair share in accordance with the last wishes of the decedent, and it’s your responsibility to make sure everything runs smoothly. To make sure you’re following the instructions and keeping yourself safe from lawsuits, reach out to a trust attorney to learn more about trust administration.