Many people use Revocable Living Trusts as part of their estate plan because they can save time and money on the administrative end. While this is certainly true as a general rule, trust administration is not without its pitfalls.
Since 1996, we have helped trustees with trust administration from start to finish, and can provide as much – or as little – assistance as is required by the trustee. If you are a trustee administering a trust, you may be asking yourself some of the following questions:
* Who should I notify about the trust administration?
* Should I pay expenses with trust funds?
* How do I get a tax ID number for the trust and establish a bank account?
* How do I prepare an inventory of trust assets?
* Can I give items away?
* What should I do if someone else has possession of trust property?
* Do I need to account to beneficiaries for the income, expenses, gains, and losses incurred by the trust?
* To whom should distributions be made?
* When should distributions be made?
* How do I go about closing a trust?
* What steps can I take to ensure I will have no more liability after the trust is closed?
These are just a few of the many questions that are likely to arise in the typical trust administration context. So, although trust administration is normally done without court supervision, the advice of a lawyer who is experienced in trust and estate administration is strongly recommended.
Trustees owe fiduciary duties to trust beneficiaries, and ignorance of the law is no excuse for trustee misconduct or mismanagement. Because most trusts provide for payment of attorney fees directly from trust assets, there is really no reason for a trustee to attempt to “go it alone” when attempting to navigate the complex requirements of trust administration.
If you are a trustee and are looking for guidance with a trust administration matter, give us a call today at 253.858.5434 to schedule an initial consultation. We represent clients throughout Washington and Idaho and are available to meet in person, by phone, or via Skype or FaceTime.