If you have been chosen to serve as a trust administrator, you need to be aware that you will have some very substantial obligations if you decide to fulfill this role. A trust creator may select you as a trust administrator and if you agree to administer the trust, you will be responsible for managing trust assets and facilitating the transfer of assets during the trust administration process after a death.
Frank & Kraft can provide you with help understanding what your responsibilities are as a trust administrator and can help you to fulfill those responsibilities in order to ensure that you comply with your legal duties and honor the wishes of the deceased. We work hard to make the trust administration process easy, quick, and inexpensive.
We can also provide representation to heirs or beneficiaries who want to ensure that the trust administrator is fulfilling his or her role during the trust administration process. Just give us a call to find out more about the ways in which our firm can help you.
What Does a Trust Administrator Do?
A trust administration completes many important tasks throughout the trust administration process, which takes place after a trust creator has died. The trust administration process is the process by which assets in the trust are transferred to their new owners after a death. It is an alternative to the probate process, and it is supposed to be faster and easier.
After a death, the trust administrator will be responsible for obtaining copies of the trust as well as copies of the death certificate. The trust administrator will need to make a complete accounting of all of the assets that are held within the trust and will need to also make an assessment of the liabilities that the trust owes. Obtaining a tax ID number for the trust is also essential, as there are many tax forms that may need to be filed on behalf of the trust and the social security number of the deceased will not be used to file those tax forms.
Trust administrators have an obligation to provide notice to interested parties, which could include potential heirs or beneficiaries as well as third parties such as Medicaid which may want to make a claim on the assets of the trust if the deceased received Medicaid coverage for nursing home care services or long-term care towards the end of his or her life.
Trust administrators also have a fiduciary duty to manage trust assets throughout the trust administration process. This means that they will need to do things such as managing investments, paying bills, and collecting on debts that are owed to the trust. They must always put the best interests of the trust and its beneficiaries first above their own interests and they must act with reasonable competence, as negligence or self-dealing could be considered violations of the fiduciary duty and could lead to legal action against the trustee.
Trust administrators should keep a careful accounting of the actions they take as they manage the trust, such as detailing expenses that they incur and bills they pay. This may become necessary to demonstrate what has happened to estate assets. They will also need to file all appropriate forms with the IRS and state taxing authorities to ensure that taxes are paid.
Finally, trust administrators will have an obligation to formally facilitate the transfer of the trust assets to the appropriate designated beneficiaries in accordance with the instructions provided in the trust document. This can include doing things such as changing titles and deeds on property that was owned within the trust.
Contact a Trust Administration Lawyer Today
Frank & Kraft provides representation throughout the trust administration process to trust administrators, heirs or beneficiaries, and other interested parties. Our goal is to help ensure that the process goes smoothly, that the fiduciary duty is fulfilled, that the wishes of the deceased are respected, and that assets can transfer quickly and cost effectively to new owners.
To find out more about the ways in which our legal team can help with all aspects of the trust administration process, join us for a free seminar. You can also give us a call at 317-684-1100 or contact us online at any time to find out more about how our firm can help you.
Mr. Kraft assists clients primarily in the areas of estate planning and administration, Medicaid planning, federal and state taxation, real estate and corporate law, bringing the added perspective of an accounting background to his work.