Trust Administration is the process of administering the estate of a deceased person who had a valid trust. The “estate” is the legal term for all the deceased person’s assets while “administering” the estate relates to making a final distribution of those assets. The assets must be distributed according to the terms of the deceased person’s trust.
The Process of formal trust administration is private, unlike probate (the court process that must be endured when there is no trust) which is public. The successor trustee is the person responsible for administering the trust of the deceased person, and as with any legal proceeding, there are many technical aspects to the process which include:
• Notifying beneficiaries and heirs.
• Conducting an inventory of the deceased person’s and trust assets.
• Adhering to deadlines and following the terms of the trust.
• There may be separate procedures – or even lawsuits – required in contentious trust admin cases.
• Real estate or other property may need to be sold to effect correct distribution of assets.
• Other assets may need to be transferred from the decedent to the beneficiaries.
• Ascertaining and paying debts and taxes.
The Successor Trustee can easily get overwhelmed with the many technical responsibilities and legal duties he or she must accomplish to successfully administer the trust. That’s where we come in; guiding the successor trustee, doing the heavy lifting, and making things as easy as possible for the successor trustee throughout the trust administration process. The bottom line is that we save our clients significant time, money, and stress.
The Compensation allowed for the successor trustee will be set forth in the trust document. Often it is expressed as “reasonable” compensation. Reasonableness varies with the complexity of the trust, the number and type of trust assets, and special or unusual circumstances.