When it comes to bank accounts and estate plans, a trustee is a common word that people encounter. It isn’t as simple as guarding a person’s assets because there are a lot of legal responsibilities revolving around being a trustee. This is where a trust administration lawyer can help.
What is a trust?
Part of an estate plan is a trust. A trust refers to an agreement involving three parties – the settlor, the trustee, and the beneficiaries where the settlor chooses a trustee that will hold his estate on behalf of the beneficiaries. There are two kinds of trust, a testamentary and a living trust. A testamentary trust only starts when the settlor dies while a living trust can already start once the trust is created.
What is the role of a trustee?
Apart from holding the assets on behalf of the beneficiaries, a trustee is required to keep the beneficiaries informed regarding any update on any asset the settlor has. This means that the former is expected to oversee those assets as well. Another duty of a trustee is to handle the assets according to what was stated in the trust agreement. This is why it was said earlier that being a trustee is more than just “holding” the assets. For other trusts, there are things a trustee should do which is specific to the plan of the settlor.
The trustee also needs to pay the taxes involved in the estate plan. This is to ensure that all the assets are protected. And once the trust is activated, the trustee should now handle the distribution of the assets to the beneficiaries based on the terms found in the agreement.
The role of a trustee varies depending on the estate plan. The responsibilities are not limited to what was stated above and even if it were, these can be too much to handle. All trustees are expected to have more than the basic knowledge of estate laws to ensure the safety of the assets. To make sure that is done right, getting a trust administration lawyer is highly recommended.
What is a trust administration lawyer?
A trust administration lawyer is the main legal professional that will guide and help the trustee in handling the estate while it is still in the latter’s care. Ideally, they are the experts in estate laws and trust administration. In an event where the trustee feels that his or her obligations are too much, the attorney can step in and guide the trustee in making the best decisions to preserve the estate.
There is a lot to take in when it comes to being a trustee. Because a lot of things are also at stake, the price a trustee must pay for a mistake can be quite high. Remember, the beneficiaries will be affected if the assets are not taken care of while they aren’t in the beneficiaries’ hands. A simple mistake in the taxes paid can affect the whole estate and this is the last thing any trustee would want. A trust administration lawyer is there to help in cases like this.
Another benefit of having a trust administration lawyer is that they are able to identify errors in the administration of the trustee. They can point out conflicts of interest or discrepancies in the taxes paid. They can also keep an eye out for the interest of future beneficiaries that might get neglected once the trust is activated. A trust administration lawyer can even help in preventing misunderstandings in terms and agreements stated in the trust. Not all trustees are well-versed with these things so to avoid complications in the future, a settlor can advise the trustee to get a lawyer.
Not all trustees are adept in estate law and this is perfectly normal. This is the main reason why trust administration lawyers exist. http://probateestatelawoffice.com is a great firm which has a roster of trust administration lawyers who can guide and help any trustee regardless of the kind of trust they are handling.
However, as a final word, settlors still play a major role in the whole trust agreement. They are responsible for picking the trustee in the first place so they should be aware of the capacities their trustee has.