Trust administration is the process by which the Trustee manages your assets that have been titled in the trust’s name, and then pays all your expenses and distributes your estate according to your wishes on your death. You are the Trustee of your trust, until such time as you can no longer act due to illness or some other reason, or until your death. The Successor Trustee named in your trust takes over the duty of Trustee in those circumstances.
The Trustee acts in a fiduciary capacity to carry out your estate plan. As such, the Trustee must abide by law in treating all beneficiaries fairly and without benefiting himself over other beneficiaries (if your successor Trustee is also a beneficiary).
The Trustee must account for all your assets, income, and expenses, and must give notices to governmental agencies and your beneficiaries and relatives as required by law. He or she must make financial decisions, pursue life insurance policies if the trust was named as beneficiary of such policies, prepare your tax returns and pay any taxes due, manage your assets and real estate, understand what your wishes are as set forth in your trust instrument, and ultimately, distribute your assets or retain in trust your assets pursuant to the trust.
In choosing a successor Trustee, you should be sure to choose someone who is honest and reliable, and has sufficient financial knowledge to be able to handle your estate. Your successor Trustee should seek the advice of an attorney to make sure that all trust administration issues are handled to the best benefit of the beneficiaries of your estate, and that all laws are complied with. If your successor Trustee is not a professional fiduciary who has acted as a Trustee and is currently represented by an attorney, then the person you appoint as successor Trustee will need the help of a knowledgeable attorney to advise him or her on how to complete all the duties of a Trustee. You should make sure that the person you name as successor Trustee understands that he or she should seek legal advice so that your wishes are carried out in a proper manner and according to law.
Call our office today to help you plan your estate by having a revocable trust prepared. We are here to help.