You May Avoid Probate With a Living Trust but it Still needs to be Administered
When considering the creation and administration of a trust, many people assume that implementing a living trust means that they can avoid the probate process entirely. In fact, probate avoidance is often the motivating factor when a person chooses to place their assets in a trust rather than leave the assets to beneficiaries in a will. However, many also incorrectly assume that if no probate is required, then nothing needs to be done when a creator of a trust passes away. Essentially, it is commonly believed that no further administration is required upon the death of the trustor. However, every estate, regardless if it is a will or trust, must be administered in some aspect and, as with probate, there are various laws relating to the administration of a trust which must be precisely followed.
Trust Laws and Required Processes need to Be Followed
In fact, many of the same procedures utilized in administering
What are the Trustee’s Responsibilities?
The designated trustee is the person or entity responsible for all aspects of the trust administration. Administrative duties may include, but are not limited to, safeguarding trust assets, accounting for the assets, and monitoring all income and expenses, as well as selling assets, paying the necessary debts and taxes, and distributing the trust as directed in the trust document. Failure to act in a diligent or timely manner, or to act in line with the dictates of the trust, can put a trustee at risk for potential liability. Proper handling of trust administration is essential as there are many legal, tax, and financial aspects of the estate which are deadline driven and must be performed competently.
Trust Administration vs. Probate
Generally speaking, the administration of a trust is conducted in private without any court intervention; in contrast, probate often takes place in a courtroom, which is open to the public. Additionally, the trust administration for an estate may be a much shorter period of time than probate, and the cost for administering a trust is generally much less.
Ultimately, the proper handling and administration of
Other Areas of Practice
Power of Attorney
Advance Health Care Directive