Individuals looking to begin the process of estate and trust administration commonly find themselves asking a few questions: what is trust administration? What does trust administration do? And, why is it a vital aspect of any proper estate plan? These are all excellent questions, and we’ll touch on these subjects, and more. To ensure that you’re taking all of the necessary steps when designating your assets, here’s what you should know about trust administrations, and the value they provide for you and your loved ones.

What Are Trust Administration Services?

The trust administration definition typically refers to the management of an estate prior to an eventual transfer of a property held in trust. So, what does that mean? Essentially, trust administration services ensure that all property designated by the creator of a trust goes to the proper beneficiaries, which is determined in a trust agreement.

Under a trust administration, the creator of the trust (commonly referred to as the “trustor” or “settlor”) determines how his or her assets are to be distributed at the time of their death. The trust also specifies a trustee, which is often a family member or close friend(can also be a lawyer), who will carry out the wishes of the trustor. The trustee is the individual who assumes a multitude of responsibilities following the trustor’s death, some of which can include, but are not limited to:

  • providing notice and copies of the trust to all beneficiaries and heirs
  • filing an estate tax return if needed
  • notifying appropriate state agencies
  • requesting a taxpayer identification number from the Internal Revenue Service
  • establishing a trust administration bank account to collect assets
  • notifying county agencies of the death of a real property owner
  • mediating disputes between beneficiaries and other family members

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Trust Administration

When compared with the standard, court-supervised probate process, a trust administration is a much more private, cost-effective, and efficient method for distributing assets. With a trust administration, you have a greater level of privacy as there is no court supervision throughout the process, and trust documents are not available to the general public. Still, a trust administration can sometimes bring on its own challenges, and often requires detailed correspondence with an estate law attorney or financial advisor.

One of the more prominent disadvantages of a trust administration is the lack of court supervision for certain discrepancies, often between beneficiaries. Managing these situations often requires extensive time and effort to resolve.

Trust Administration Fees

In order to properly analyze trust administration fees, a person must already have a clear understanding for how extensive their estate is, as well as the amount of beneficiaries, and a number of other factors including taxes, insurances, 401k’s and other financial accounts. Fortunately, your estate law attorney will go through the detailed process with you, letting you know throughout every step what you should be expecting to pay.

Walser & Herman – Elder Law and Probate Attorneys

For more than 30 years, the team at Walser & Herman Law has provided South Florida residents with the gold standard of elder law, probate, and estate planning. When it comes to trust administrations, we will walk you through all of the various types of options available, as well as assist you in setting forth all legal preferences for your estate within your will.

Our experienced Palm Beach probate attorney and trust administration lawyers handle every case with compassionate insight and unparalleled legal guidance. We understand that your trust is your legacy, and we take every step to ensure benefits are distributed correctly. For more information regarding our services, contact us today.