Trust Administration

Common Questions and Answers

What is Trust Administration?

There are many reasons why our loved ones create a Trust – they want to protect their assets from Probate, they want to protect their beneficiaries, they want continued control over their assets during their lifetime, etc. There are many different types of Trusts that can help ensure that, however, there are legal requirements involved in setting up a Trust, which is why the hiring of an attorney during this time is very crucial. Those who want to set up their estate plan should consult with a legal professional for assistance today.

But what happens to that Trust after the creator(s) of the Trust passes away? When a Trust has been created, the death of the creator will trigger the start of the Trust Administration process. The Successor Trustee of the estate will become essentially the new manager of the Trust. The administration of the estate involves the process of managing and transferring the Trust assets, which for most first time Trustees can be a complex and complicated process for an already mournful time.

Checklist for Administering a Trust After Death

Successfully navigating the Trust Administration process is completely dependent on the Successor Trustee following the wishes of the Trustor and ensuring that all their duties and responsibilities are fulfilled in a timely manner. There are many traps that the Trustee can fall into when beginning and closing out an estate, which is why hiring a lawyer to complete the process is always recommended to save time and money. A Trustee’s failure to carry out their duties can lead to lawsuits and more headaches.

Checklist of 10 Trustee Duties and Responsibilities for Trust Administration:

  1. Obtain death certificates of the decedent
  2. Locate the Will and file with your local probate court
  3. Notify Social Security
  4. Notify the Department of Health
  5. Identify and locate Trust beneficiaries
  6. Notify the Trust beneficiaries and provide a copy of the Trust
  7. Inventory the Trust Assets and get them appraised
  8. Obtain a Taxpayer Identification (EIN) Number
  9. Set up a record-keeping system for accounting
  10. Pay outstanding debtsPlease note, this is not an exhaustive list.

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list. 

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