Trust Administration is the process of collecting, managing, and distributing the assets held in a Living Trust according to the wishes and instructions of the Trustmaker(s). This is a private process that does not involve the Probate Court or its rules and timeline.
I begin by holding a review session with the Successor Trustee to outline each of their responsibilities and discuss how involved they would like me to be. I can provide instructions to the Successor Trustee regarding each task they are responsible for, or the Successor Trustee may retain me to work with them throughout the process.
What does a Successor Trustee do?
A Successor Trustee has many responsibilities, including creating an inventory, managing assets, paying bills and taxes, filing tax returns, communicating with beneficiaries, providing accountings, and making distributions. A Successor Trustee may charge a reasonable fee as compensation for their services.
Final tax returns must be filed for the Trustmaker. Additionally, a tax return may need to be filed for the Living Trust for each year of Trust Administration. I am happy to provide referrals for both personal and Living Trust tax filing services.
A Successor Trustee must notify all of the beneficairies that they have an interest in the Living Trust. Additionally, a Successor Trustee should stay in regular contact with the beneficiaries to keep them informed.
A Successor Trustee may have to file claims as the beneficiary of retirement accounts and/or life insurance. They may also be responsible for preparing deeds and handling real estate transactions.
A Successor Trustee is responsible for gathering information on the value of Living Trust assets and balances of any debts. This information needs to be compiled into an inventory and provided to the beneficiaries.
Paying bills & taxes
A Successor Trustee is responsible for paying all of the final bills and taxes of the Trustmaker, canceling utilities and closing accounts, canceling services, etc. All of these bills and taxes will be paid out of the assets of the Living Trust.
A Successor Trustee will need to provide regular accountings to the beneficiaries to show their progress in collecting and managing assets, paying bills, filing tax returns and paying taxes, and making distributions.
A Successor Trustee must follow the instructions provided in the Living Trust in making specific distributions of money or property, and in making periodic and final distributions to complete Trust Administration.
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