Need help with trust administration services? Please call us now!
If you are a family member or the named successor trustee and the trustmaker has just died, you may be confused as to what to do next. Thankfully there are many resources and professionals to help you.
First, you’ll be relieved you know that if the trustmaker put all of their assets in the name of the trust or the trust is named as beneficiary, then the good news is that you can begin the estate administration process completely outside of probate court.
Start by gathering all legal documents and financial records, and enlist the help of an attorney, financial advisor, and accountant. We are here to help you in your role as trustee so that you have the peace of mind you are performing your trustee duties as law the requires and that you are not exposed to undue risk or liability. It is also very important to communicate with the trust beneficiaries in a way that makes them feel an integral part of the process, not simply a bystander or a “nuisance.”
I can help you through this process and take as much off your hands when it comes to locating assets, paying bills and making sure your loved one’s assets get to the right people without court or conflict whenever possible.
I work closely with the deceased’s family members, beneficiaries, and trusted advisors to ensure the deceased’s trust assets are inventoried, debts are paid and the assets are distributed to the named trust beneficiaries.
Depending on the type of trust involved, the assets may be distributed outright to the named beneficiaries, or the assets might be held in trust for the future benefit of the named beneficiaries.
Every trust has named a “trustee.” The trustee’s job is to ensure that trust assets are handled properly and the trust terms are complied with. Serving as a trustee entails a huge level of responsibility and liability. Usually a trustee will have limited background or experience in carrying out the legal and financial duties that come with administering a trust and needs some guidance.
That’s okay. As long as the trustee is aware the most careful course of action is to seek help, then the trustee can feel comfortable knowing the trust is being administered properly, all legal requirements are being satisfied and the trustee is minimizing or eliminating any personal liability related to the role of trustee to the extent possible.
During trust administration, I work with the trustee to evaluate title to and beneficiary designations of all of the deceased’s assets to identify which assets fall under trust administration and which assets might need to be probated. We will also coordinate appraisals of significant assets to get a clear picture of the deceased’s net worth for estate tax purposes.
- Notification to all heirs and beneficiaries of the pending trust administration
- Identification and collection of assets
- Determination of values of assets
- Payment of all debts, expenses and taxes of the trust estate
- Preparation of regular accountings during trust administration
- Solicitation of professional advice as to the disposition of jointly held assets, life insurance, and retirement benefits that pass through or outside the trust
- Preparation of federal and state tax returns, as well as gift tax and generation-skipping transfer tax reporting
- Communication with beneficiaries throughout the trust administration process
Once the trust assets are ready for distribution, the trustee will refer to the trust terms as to how assets will be distributed to the named beneficiaries or held for the benefit of the named beneficiaries in the trust.
Sometimes the trust terms dictate that assets may be distributed outright to the named beneficiaries, and other times the trust terms dictate that the assets should be held in trust for the benefit of the named beneficiaries. It is very common, for example, for trust assets to continue to be held in trust for named beneficiaries if the beneficiaries are minors or young adults, have special needs, or might have creditor issues that would unnecessarily expose their trust inheritance to risk.
If the trust assets are to be distributed outright to named beneficiaries, then the trustee will prepare and sign the appropriate conveyance documents to the named beneficiaries. This part of the process admittedly can be complicated and time consuming.
Plus, the trustee will likely want some sort of assurance that upon transferring trust assets to the named beneficiaries that the trustee does not remain open to future claims of wrongdoing or omission. That is where attorney guidance comes in to help you cover gaps you may not even know exist if you are navigating trust administration on your own.
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Whether you have young children, are looking back at a life well-lived, or have a business to protect, let’s have a conversation and talk about how I can help you.
I know it’s not easy to face our own death. And as a mother with two active boys, I understand how hectic life can be. But based on my own experience and those of clients, I have seen how planning for our death and incapacity (even though it can be uncomfortable at first) creates an enormous amount of peace of mind. Let’s get started now on creating a plan to protect you and your family throughout your lifetime and beyond.
“I contacted Norell for a restatement of my living trust that was prepared many years before by another attorney. My former attorney did a decent job but did not help me to really understand the trust and what was needed long term. He also did not address provisions for what would happen if I became incapacitated. Norell on the other hand, spent time educating me and answering my questions without any pressure …”
“My child’s future and safety are of the utmost importance to me. I was looking for an experienced person who would understand my concerns and needs. I was so lucky to find Norell. She, as a mom, shares my same concerns. Norell is wise, experienced and professional. Couldn’t ask for more. Peace of mind is priceless.”
“My wife and I attended one of Norell’s seminars at Whiz Kids about estate planning and immediately we could tell she was knowledgeable in estate planning, passionate about helping people be prepared in the event something happened, and truly concerned for our family’s well-being. The overall estate planning experience has been smooth and effortless. We would highly recommend using Albanis Law for your estate planning needs.”
Estate planning, asset protection, trust administration, and probate services for families, individuals, couples, and businesses in Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Estero, Fort Myers, and Cape Coral.