Practice Area

Trust Administration

Trusts can be extremely useful tools in estate planning but they are far from simple. Administering a trust can also be a complex and time-consuming task, requiring detailed knowledge of legal requirements to keep the trust in compliance with the law and to meet the fiduciary requirements imposed on the trustee.

In some cases, the duties of trust administration may only require you to take steps to wind up the final affairs of a loved one, similar to acting as the executor of an estate. However, in other situations, trust administration may require ongoing maintenance and management of assets for years.

At PayneLess™ Law, we provide advice and guidance for all types of trust administration, including handling many tasks on your behalf. Whether you need to understand how to administer your own trust or you have been assigned the job of administering a revocable or irrevocable trust for someone else, we have the knowledge and experience to ensure that all tasks are completed properly and efficiently.

Understanding Trusts

Trusts are legal contracts that operate as a virtual container for holding property and a guideline for your desired handling of your assets and legacy. A trust might hold a combination of assets, including real estate, vehicles, cash accounts, and more.

The property in the trust is managed by the trustee. That person has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the trust rather than to act in a way that serves their own personal interests or a specific beneficiary. While the trustee controls the assets in the trust, those assets are not the trustee’s to use or spend. The trustee manages the assets for the use of a person (or people) known as beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust agreement.

Trusts can be revocable or irrevocable. When they are revocable, they can be changed easily by the person creating the trust. That person can take property out of it, change the trust’s terms, or cancel it entirely. By contrast, when a trust is irrevocable, it is generally difficult or impossible to change the terms. Once property is moved into an irrevocable trust, it stays with the trust to be used for trust goals and the benefit of its beneficiaries. Property in an irrevocable trust is protected while property in a revocable trust is accessible. For this reason, property in a revocable trust is not protected from creditors or collectors.

Administering a Revocable Living Trust

Many people establish revocable living trusts so that when they pass away, their property can transfer to loved ones directly without the delays and expense of probate. With this type of trust, the person who created the trust, sometimes referred to as the trustor or settlor, typically also serves as the primary trustee and enjoys use of the property as the primary beneficiary. After death, a successor trustee chosen by the trust’s creator takes over to administer the trust. The successor trustee must assess and pay the final bills of the trust creator and then distribute assets to the designated beneficiaries. Typically, trust administration can take several months to complete and it is important to pay attention to legal requirements. The PayneLess Law can provides guidance when you need help funding and administering your trust during your lifetime, and we also assist trustees who need help winding down and distributing the assets in a trust for your designated beneficiaries.

Administration of Irrevocable Trusts

Irrevocable trusts can be created to fulfill a wide range of purposes, so trust administration duties will vary according to the purpose of the trust. A special needs trust, for instance, is designed to provide ongoing support for an individual who receives government benefits such as Medicaid, and it is set up to operate in a way that prevents the beneficiary from losing eligibility for these programs. To administer this type of trust, you need to ensure that all disbursements meet regulatory requirements and are adequately documented with appropriate receipts.

You also need to ensure that assets in the trust are managed in a way that preserves value or provides for growth. These duties may continue for years or even decades. It can place a considerable legal and administrative burden on a family member if they are designated as trustee, so many people choose to use a professional as a trustee, or have the trustee work closely with a legal professional while fulfilling trust duties. At PayneLess Law, we understand the regulatory requirements for all types of trusts, including those designed to minimize tax liability, so we can ensure that trust administration is completed properly.

Learn More About the Ways PayneLess Law Can Assist with Trust Administration

Trustees are required to uphold numerous fiduciary duties that can be confusing and time-consuming. PayneLess Law can take the mystery out of the process of trust administration. We work with you to guide you through obligations or and we take on duties on your behalf. To discuss your trust administration needs, just schedule a consultation at your convenience. 

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Monday to Friday 9 am to 6 pm