Living Trusts are drafted to avoid the probate process and eliminate much of the work related to the administration of an estate. While trusts often achieve this purpose, many questions arise for those dealing with the affairs of a trust estate, many of which directly relate as to how to properly handle the process.
Santiago & Jones has assisted many clients with this process, known as trust administration. Involving experienced attorneys, who can assist with the process, can eliminate stress and ensure that estate administration occurs in a proper manner. Our attorneys assist trustees with trust administration from the beginning to the end, and work on an “as needed” basis, dispensing any advice and guidance requested by the client or trustee.
If you or your family members are involved in estate administration, or are acting as a trustee, various areas of concern often arise in connection with the process:
Notifying the various affected parties to the trust administration;
Payment of estate debts and expenses with trust assets;
Obtaining a tax ID number for the trust;
Procedures for opening a trust bank account;
Identifying and preparing an inventory of trust assets;
Disposing of or giving away personal property items;
Steps to take to recover estate property in the possession of a third party;
Keeping a ledger of income and expenses incurred by the trust;
Distributions to beneficiaries;
Closing the affairs of the trust estate;
Closing the estate in a manner which eliminates the risk of future problems.
While trust administration is ordinarily accomplished without court involvement, the guidance from the experienced attorney of Santiago & Jones often proves invaluable in connection with trust administration.
A common problem arises when trustees make errors in handling estate administration. Because trustees owe fiduciary duties to beneficiaries, misconduct or mismanagement can be costly and stressful. As trusts typically allow trustees to pay attorney fees directly from trust assets, trustees are well advised to involve attorneys to protect their personal interests in handling a trust administration.
Trustees often seek our guidance and counsel with respect to a trust administration matters. Because we offer free initial consultations, any trustee with questions should contact Santiago & Jones.