When someone creates a trust, they relinquish legal authority over their property into the trust and name a trustee to manage their assets until they are disbursed to the beneficiaries. The trustee must manage, maintain, and distribute the grantor’s assets in line with the trust provisions.
If you are a trust beneficiary or have been designated as a trustee, it is essential to understand the steps that trust administration entails. To do this, it may be beneficial to work with a Sugar Land trust administration lawyer at Romano & Sumner throughout the process. Trust administration can prove to be particularly complex, especially when the provisions of the trust are ambiguous, or someone contests the terms, management, or distribution of trust assets.
Talk with a skilled trusts and estates attorney who can help you better understand your rights. If you are unsure of your obligations as a trustee or are exploring whether you have grounds to contest a trust, an attorney can offer astute counsel about what to do moving forward.
To better understand the trust administration process, it is crucial to be aware of the different types of trusts that a person can establish. There are numerous benefits to creating a trust, including additional protection of the grantor’s assets and avoiding the need to probate the individual’s property upon their death.
When someone establishes a trust, the provisions dictate how assets will be managed and disbursed. A trust typically bypasses probate and may terminate when the grantor passes away or as long as the provisions allow.
A trust can also be irrevocable or revocable. In the case of a revocable trust, the grantor can alter provisions, remove or add beneficiaries, or make other substantial changes if they wish. A revocable trust can even be terminated.
On the other hand, after an irrevocable trust has been established, the grantor loses its ability to make any further changes concerning the trust’s provisions, beneficiaries, or otherwise. A local estate planning attorney can provide additional guidance on establishing or administering a trust.
Usually, the trust administration process begins upon the grantor’s death. The administration of a trust continues as long as the trust is in existence. A very early step in the trust administration process is determining the beneficiaries and informing them of their status.
The trustee will also need to assess the various types of property within the trust. They preserve and protect the property by taking steps to ensure the financial appreciation through active investment and management of these assets.
Any outstanding debts and liabilities will need to be paid before the remaining trust assets can be disbursed to the decedent’s beneficiaries. The trustee needs to keep detailed tax records and often file several tax returns, as well as pay taxes owed on the trust as part of the administration process. Numerous documents will need to be drawn up and filed to keep track of and manage assets, ensure correct distribution, actively invest assets while the administration process plays out, and distribute them to outstanding creditors.
Once all tax returns have been submitted, outstanding taxes paid, and creditor claims satisfied, the trustee can then pay out the trust property and assets to the beneficiaries. It is important to emphasize that throughout the administration process, the trustee is obliged to follow the provisions of the trust to the letter.
Further, the trust administration process can become increasingly complicated if one or more parties challenge the management or terms of the trust. A trust and estate attorney can guide a trustee throughout the administration process to ensure they fulfill their legal responsibilities following the trust’s terms.
While there are general steps that asset management follows in Texas, a variety of factors can impact how the timeline and the process look in practice. Speak with the Sugar Land trust administration lawyer if you are the beneficiary to a trust or a trustee, they can help you determine your legal rights around the process. Contact our office to book a confidential consultation and learn more from the attorneys at Romano & Sumner.
Romano & Sumner, PLLC