Trust Administration Lawyer
Have you been named the trustee for a loved one? Are you uncertain what you need to do to manage your own trust?
Are you confused about what it means to be a trustee and unclear about your obligations? Mistakes can make you legally liable, so it is important to get all the details right. Trust administration can easily become overwhelming.
But you don’t have to manage on your own.
Guidance and Management Assistance for All Types of Trusts
Whether you just need help getting started or you want a professional to manage the process from start to finish, the team at Huizenga Law is ready to assist with trust administration. We take the mystery out of the process, explaining everything from overall trust operation to the details of ongoing maintenance.
We want you to feel confident and secure in the process and will take the time to review various aspects with you as necessary. Trusts can be confusing, but we work to make trust administration as easy and efficient as possible.
Ensuring All Obligations Are Met
Depending on the situation, a trustee in Iowa may be required to complete a variety of tasks such as:
- Calculating taxes and filing returns
- Assessing the validity of debts and paying bills
- Distributing funds to beneficiaries in accordance with trust terms
- Managing trust property for stability and growth
- Fulfilling notification requirements
- Ensuring distributions comply with state and federal rules
We can help ensure each duty is accomplished in a way that best serves the needs of everyone involved.
Trustee duties will be different depending on whether a trust is a testamentary trust to meet the needs of minor children as they grow, a special needs trust to provide for a loved one receiving government benefits, a revocable trust set up to bypass probate, or one of many other different types of trusts. Some trusts may be ready to conclude soon after you take on your role as trustee while others may require ongoing administration for years.
We assess the situation, explain the duties, and work with you to create a plan to take care of business.
A Trustee is a Fiduciary
One important aspect to understand about trust administration is that a trustee is a fiduciary. That means a trustee is put in a position where they have been entrusted with the management of property that does not belong to them, and they have an obligation to take care of the property in the best interests of others.
The duties of a fiduciary can be complex in certain situations. The overriding concept is that fiduciaries are expected to act in the best interests of others rather than themselves. For instance, if a trustee decided to take trust funds and invest them in a risky business venture, that might not be acting in the beneficiary’s best interests. If that risky business venture also benefited the trustee personally, then the trustee would appear to have a conflict of interest and could potentially be sued by the beneficiary.
At Huizenga Law, we understand the nuances of fiduciary duty and ensure that the trustee remains in compliance.
Managing a Trust in Transition After a Death
When someone has created a revocable living trust to bypass probate, and they have transferred assets appropriately, then they do not leave an estate that requires oversight by the court. However, the person designated as alternate or successor trustee will still need to undertake many of the same steps as the executor of an estate.
The trustee will need to take inventory of the property the deceased person owned at their death. Then they will need to pay any debts owed by the deceased person. After all debts are covered, then the trustee will need to distribute remaining assets according to the terms of the trust and all applicable legal requirements. A trust administration lawyer can work with the trustee to avoid the potential for breach of fiduciary duty or other problems.
The beneficiaries typically must wait to receive funds from the trust until all bills are paid, assets are settled, and other requirements managed. This could happen within 60 days but usually takes much longer, particularly if it is necessary to sell assets such as real estate.
In some cases, a trust administration lawyer may recommend making a partial distribution of assets to beneficiaries before the administration process is fully complete. This process requires additional work, but it allows beneficiaries to invest or make use of some assets much sooner.
Huizenga Law Helps with All Aspects of Trust Administration
Trusts can be very complex, and even simple trusts can be confusing to manage for those who are unfamiliar with the legal obligations involved. Mistakes can lead to personal liability for a trustee or lost income, penalties, or delays.
Working with an experienced trust administration attorney at Huizenga Law makes the process much easier and enables you to avoid costly problems. We’d be happy to explain the ways we can assist with managing a trust for your family. Contact us to schedule a consultation today.