Gaughan & Connealy can offer guidance and legal representation throughout the trust administration process. We represent trustees, beneficiaries, and other interested parties when a trust creator has passed away. We aim to help ensure that trustees are able to fulfill their fiduciary duty and that property can be transferred as quickly and as seamlessly as possible to those who were named as beneficiaries when the trust was created.
Gaughan & Connealy will help to ensure the rights of the deceased and the rights of beneficiaries are protected. Give us a call today to schedule a consultation in order to find out how we can assist you and to get answers to some of your likely questions about trust administration including:
- When does trust administration become necessary?
- What is involved in trust administration?
- How can a Kansas or Missouri trust administration lawyer help?
When Does Trust Administration Become Necessary?
Trust administration is necessary when someone who created a trust passes away. The creator of the trust, or the grantor as he is also called, will provide instructions in the trust document when the trust is created. The grantor will also establish a specific kind of trust – either revocable or irrevocable – and will fund the trust by transferring property into it. Upon the death of the grantor, the person who was named as the trustee in the trust document will take over management of the assets and will go through the formal trust administration process.
The trustee has many obligations during the trust administration process, including providing notice to the heirs of the grantor as well as providing notice to all beneficiaries of the trust. Once notice has been provided, beneficiaries can file a trust contest. If a beneficiary fails to do so within the time limit provided by law, he may waive his right to contest the trust. A trust contest is similar to contesting a will, and it involves making an argument that the trust is invalid for some reason like the grantor not following legal formalities or not being of sound mind at the time of creation.
If no trust contest is filed, the trustee will continue with the process of trust administration. In general, there is no court oversight or court involvement in this process like there is when a will is probated. Still, the trustee who is overseeing trust administration will need to ensure he complies with all requirements set forth by law and established within the trust creation document.
If the trustee fails in any way to manage the trust in the best interests of the beneficiaries during the trust administration process, it is possible the trustee will be accused of breaching a fiduciary duty. A fiduciary duty is the single highest duty a person can owe under the law, and breaching the duty can have serious legal consequences. Trustees should strongly consider getting legal help with trust administration so they do not make mistakes that could cost them later.
What is Involved in Trust Administration?
The specifics of the trust administration process can vary depending upon the type of trust and the instructions from the grantor who created it. In general, however, the process will involve taking the necessary steps to secure the transfer of trust property to those who the deceased named as the beneficiaries of the trust. To formally change the ownership, the trust administrator will need to take necessary steps to record the death certificate and to facilitate the official transfer of title to new owners.
The trustee must keep careful and detailed financial records and, in many cases, the trust itself has to file a separate tax return so that income earned from trust accounts can be reported properly to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Keeping these detailed records can be daunting, but trustees can get help from a trust administration lawyer to make sure they are fulfilling their obligations.
How can a Kansas or Missouri Trust Administration Lawyer Help?
Gaughan & Connealy offers representation to trustees, as well as to beneficiaries and heirs. Give us a call to learn about the legal assistance we can offer after a death in Overland Park, in Kansas City, or in surrounding areas throughout Kansas and Missouri.