Trust Administration

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Trust Administration Attorneys

People who get trusts prepared for estate planning purposes often don’t think too much about the work that the trustee administrator will have to do when the time comes to distribute or administer the trust. But there is a lot of work to do, and a not inconsiderable amount of risk and liability goes with all that work. Your administrator – or you if you are acting as a trust administrator – may well end up needing an experienced trust administration attorney from The Sterling Law Group to get you through the process with the least amount of trouble.

Administrator’s Duties

There are various core duties that a trust administrator must uphold no matter what else is happening. These duties are generally grouped together as a trustee’s “fiduciary” duties. These are:

  • Duty of Loyalty – a trustee must always and only act in the best interests of the trust’s beneficiaries.
  • Duty of Disclosure – a trustee must disclose any material information to the beneficiaries and keep them reasonably informed about the trust’s status and the trustee’s action.
  • Duty of Impartiality – a trustee must treat all of the beneficiaries equally and not favor one over another.
  • Duty to Enforce and Defend Claims – a trustee must enforce and defend any claims for or against the trust whenever the claims are reasonable and prudent, even if those claims cause an overall loss to the trust.

While these duties may all seem simple, the legal exposure and implications created by them can be severe. At any time, any of the beneficiaries can sue the trustee claiming a violation of one or more of these duties. Add this to the stress of going through the probate and distribution process, and a trustee can be just a tad overwhelmed by it all.

Trustee’s Timeline

Within thirty days of the death of the grantor of the trust, the trustee administrator has to file the most current trust and any amendments or codicils with the county clerk in the county where the deceased lived at the time of death. At this point, the trust, whether revocable or irrevocable, now becomes irrevocable. In other words, the established trust asset disbursements can’t be changed anymore without going through a formal trust contest process in probate court.

The next step, which must be accomplished within sixty days of the decedent’s death, is to notify the heirs and beneficiaries of the death of the grantor and their rights as beneficiaries. This notice must be in writing because it starts a 120-day period during which the heirs and beneficiaries can make their objections. Among those is the right to request a copy of the trust and contest the estate.

After you’ve taken these mandatory steps, you can begin carrying out the instructions outlined in the trust instrument. These first steps include locating and valuing the assets, paying any debts, and making the financial distributions, along with any investments or property sales. You may also find that the trust needs to pay current or back taxes. The taxes due may include state and federal income taxes, as well as estate taxes if the state exceeds the exemption threshold (more than $12 million in 2022).

Should You Do It Yourself?

You can do it yourself and, if the estate is extremely simple, you may not face too much risk in doing so. If, for example, the estate is virtually all cash and the beneficiaries are to receive equal shares in winding up the estate, there is a limited risk of complaints.

If you missed a potential heir, you could face a challenge to the entire trust. Moreover, if there is any complexity to the estate, you run the risk of making mistakes – and they can be costly and time-consuming. If you miss a deadline or make an error in a distribution, you can be sued for breach of fiduciary duty. Any of these is daunting and might be better handled by a professional.

Contact a Trust Administration Attorney Today

If you have been appointed an administrator to trust and are feeling buried by the work and harassed by the heirs, you should consider retaining trust administration attorneys. Instead of waiting until you have a real problem, think about getting legal help. Experienced and skilled trust administration lawyers can help you understand your duties and help you to accomplish them. If beneficiaries or heirs or starting a dispute, they can also help you through that process, even if it evolves into litigation. Contact us or call 916-619-1995 for an initial consultation to discuss how we can help you with your trust administration concerns today.

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Contact us today online or call 916-619-1995 for a consultation to discuss your concerns and learn more about our legal services.

    Our team of attorneys from The Sterling Law Group, A.P.C. have knowledgable experience handling Trust and Estate Litigation matters.

    Our Attorneys had experience in Litigation and Business and can handle your matters aggressively, expeditiously, and efficiently so you have a successful resolution.

    To ensure no issues arise during the Trust Administration process, our attorneys can assist you through this step and obtain the best results possible.

    Probate should be avoided, but is a process that must occur if your loved one has passed without a will or trust. Our knowledge of the process will allow avoiding many obstacles.

    There are strict timeframes to do a Will Contest, therefore, if you wait too long, you will lose your ability to bring an action.  You may need expert legal t advice guiding you.

    If you have suffered from a breach of fiduciary duty or if you stand potentially exposed to a claim of  Breach of Fiduciary Duty by others, we can help you.

    Our Financial Elder Abuse attorney understands you, your family, and the process you can go through even the psychological issues that came during the process.

    Without the help of competent counsel, a trustee is at risk of being removed, if you are dealing with a Trustee Defense Removal contact our law firm immediately.

    Do not hesitate to reach out to our Estate Planning attorneys from The Sterling Law Group, A.P.C. to handle carefully every aspect of your case.

    At The Sterling Law Group, A P.C. our Business Succession Planning Attorney can help you with determining what your business needs.

    If you had a small estate, it may be possible to access their assets using a Small Estate Affidavit, we can help in this or other Small Estate Planning matters.

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