Trust administration is the process of carrying out a revocable living trust’s objectives. The tasks involved largely depend on the design of the trust and whether or not the individual or individuals who created the trust are living. Generally, revocable living trusts are designed to be very flexible and easy to administer during the creator’s lifetime because all the assets of the trust are still under their control.
However, once a creator of a trust passes away, the trust assets generally need to be liquidated and distributed to beneficiaries or held in trust for beneficiaries until certain conditions trigger a distribution, for example, when the beneficiary reaches a certain age. When the creators of the trust are no longer living, a third-party trustee steps in to carry out the provisions of the trust.
A trustee has a legal duty to carry out the terms of the trust exactly as stated in the document.
Often times, a trustee is a person who the creators of the trust have a high level of confidence in. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the trustee has experience administering and interpreting trusts. If you’ve ever read a revocable living trust, you’ll already realize that they can be difficult to interpret. This is generally because trusts are closely tailored to the legal system, which is written in a way that isn’t always easy to understand.
Because of this, it’s common for a successor trustee, named in a trust, to hire a trust administration lawyer to help them satisfy their legal duty of carrying out the provisions of the trust. A good estate planning attorney can greatly simplify the tasks involved of administering a trust.
At Dana Law Group, we often help clients carry out their duties as successor trustees. If you are named successor trustee of a revocable living trust, call to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced trust administration lawyer to discuss carrying out the terms of the trust and to obtain overall direction on tasks that would need to take place.