There are generally three main responsibilities that occur upon someone’s death with regard to their estate assets. Someone will be responsible for ensuring that 1) The decedent’s assets are collected and managed; 2) All debts, taxes and expenses of the decedent are paid, or properly dealt with; and 3) Administering and distributing the assets for the benefit of the beneficiaries.
If there is a trust, the trustee is that someone responsible.
A trustee is classified by law as a “fiduciary” – defined as a person or entity “who by reason of a Trust, Will, court order or other instrument has the responsibility for the acquisition, investment, reinvestment, exchange, retention, sale, or management of money or property of another.” Other fiduciaries include persons acting under power of attorney. Often there are huge responsibilities and significant potential liability if the successor trustee fails to perform the required duties.
If you are the trustee of trust, you can expect many demands are going to be made on you. Beneficiaries want their money, the government wants taxes paid, and creditors want their bills paid.
Fees for trust administration are hourly and generally quite a bit less than for the same size probate. The attorney will review the trust terms, discuss your responsibilities, and provide assistance throughout the administration process. Much of the work will depend on the size, complexity, and number of beneficiaries of the Trust.
If you are a trustee and have questions or need a consultation about how we can help you begin trust administration, call us today.