We go the extra mile to provide a vast array of estate planning and elder law resources on this website. You can learn a lot if you take advantage of them, and we are always adding additional informational tools that you can utilize to gain a better understanding of the process.
Before we move on to provide our trust administration checklist, we should briefly explain why you may want to use a living trust instead of a last will as an asset transfer vehicle. For one thing, when you have a living trust, the assets can be distributed outside of probate. Probate is a time-consuming and expensive legal process, that most people want to avoid.
With a living trust, it is easy to include spendthrift protections. You can instruct the trustee to distribute assets to the beneficiaries in any way that you see fit. If you want the assets to be invested so the trustee can distribute the earnings only, you can go this route.
Another major benefit of a living trust is the ability to prepare for possible incapacitation. Many people become unable to make sound decisions toward the end of their lives due to Alzheimer’s disease or some other cause of incapacity. When a living trust has been established, you can name a disability trustee to administer the trust if you ever become incapacitated.
These are a handful of the benefits, but there are others. Now, let’s move on to the trust administration checklist.
The Role of the Trustee
Some people are under the impression that you lose all control of assets that you convey into any type of trust. The trust is, this is not the case with a living trust, and this is part of the appeal. While you are alive and well, you can act as the trustor and the beneficiary.
You get to name successors to assume these roles after you die. Your beneficiary would be your heir (and there can be multiple beneficiaries), and you name a person or entity to act as the trustee.
There are intricate procedural and business-related tasks that must be completed during the trust administration process. It is important to utilize a trustee who has the necessary acumen. If you do not know someone personally who is ready, willing, and able, there are professional fiduciaries who can be engaged to handle the trust administration duties.
These are the responsibilities that must be checked off by the trustee after the passing of the trustor of a living trust:
- Obtain copies of death certificate
- Preserve the Pour Over Will at the county courthouse
- Send out Department of Health Notification
- Inform the Social Security Administration
- Reach out to the beneficiaries of the trust
- Identify trust assets and establish an inventory list
- Make sure that property is securely protected
- Obtain identification number for tax purposes
- Formally assume temporary ownership of trust assets as the trustee
- Devise an effective record-keeping system
- Arrange for appraisals and liquidations
- Manage invoices and pay final debts
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All the written information that we share on this site is very useful, and we are more than glad to provide it free of charge. This being said, it is time to discuss your legacy goals with a licensed estate planning attorney.
Our doors are always open to help members of our community create original estate plans, and we can be called upon to work on existing estate plan updates. We also provide guidance regarding elder law issues like long-term care costs and the steps that you can take to prepare for them in advance.
Now is the time for action if you have been procrastinating from an estate planning perspective. You can send us a message through our contact page to request a consultation appointment, and we can be reached by phone at 913-262-2000.