When a loved one passes away and the person or couple has a living trust, the trust will need to be administered to wind up the affairs of the estate. The person in charge of doing that is usually named in the trust document as the Successor Trustee. Because of the passing of the original trust creator(s), the named Successor Trustee now becomes the appointed Trustee of the trust. At this point the Trustee generally has four categories of tasks to perform:
- Providing the legally required notices and filings;
- Marshaling the assets of the estate;
- Determining and paying any outstanding debts and/or taxes of the decedent and estate;
- Distributing the assets to the named beneficiaries according to the terms set forth in the trust document.
This process is called trust administration or trust settlement.
While a trust is designed to avoid the formalities of probate and the court system, there still are some formalities that must be observed. Our office provides trust administration/settlement advice and services so that, as trustee, you can be comfortable that you are performing your duties. Having the guidance of an attorney can provide a trustee with peace of mind that all important steps and all requirements are being met.
The best way to begin the process is to make an appointment with one of our attorneys for a consultation.