Trust Administration FAQs

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Trust Administration can be intimidating for anyone as there are many specific legal obligations to properly, ethically and legally administer a trust.  Below are frequently asked questions to help make our initial consultation more productive for you.

Please contact our office at 314-727-0163 to schedule a free initial consultation or schedule online.

When a person dies, the terms of their Trust need to be followed. The Successor Trustee named in the Trust is the person responsible for this. This may include gathering together the Trust Assets, obtaining a TIN for the Trust, sending out required notices to beneficiaries, publishing creditor notices, managing Trust assets, accounting to the beneficiaries, preparing and filing Trust taxes, paying any legitimate claims, complying with Trust law in all regards, and ultimately distributing the Trust assets to the listed beneficiaries.

The Successor Trustee or Trustees listed in the Trust document are the ones responsible for handling the administration of a Trust.

No. Just because you are listed as the Successor Trustee doesn’t mean that you have to accept that position. If it is not something you want to take on, you can refuse to accept the Trusteeship and let it pass to the next listed successor. If there is no additional person listed, the Trust terms my dictate how a new Trustee is appointed, or the Court can get involved and appoint someone.

The short answer is YES. . . . Missouri law does not require you to have an attorney as a Trustee. Having said that, without an attorney, there’s no way most people would be able to navigate the Trust administration process without an attorney. Without an attorney, you won’t know the time deadlines, what you can and can’t do, what you should and shouldn’t do, what needs to be filed, what notices need to sent out, what needs to be published, and how the assets should be distributed. Trust administration can be a very complicated area of the law, and if the Trustee does not follow the law, the Trustee can incur personal liability for their failure to do so.

It’s best to meet with an attorney within one month after your loved one passes.

The attorneys role is to insure that the Trustee complies with Missouri law, and that the terms of the Trust are followed. The attorney also protects the Trustee and advised them on what to do in every step of the administration process in order to ensure that they do not incur any personal liability. The attorney will advise the Trustee on every step they need to take, and will also advise them what they shouldn’t do. The attorney will take care of preparing all notices, publications, accountings and letters that Missouri law requires or that the Trust mandates.

Trust administration is complicated, but I assure you that it is usually much more streamlined than going through the Probate Court process. Remember, one of the main advantages of a Trust is that it is intended to avoid probate court. As a result, the administration of a Trust is almost always MUCH less costly than going through the Probate Court process.

When a Trust is drafted, the person creating that trust must then also transfer/retitle their assets from their individual name into their Trust. If they do a good job at this and properly retitle everything into their Trust, then Probate may not be needed. If there are some assets that they forgot to retitle into their Trust, those particular assets may still need to go through the Probate process. An attorney will review all of your loved one’s assets and advised you exactly what will need to be done.

Bring a copy of your loved one’s Trust and all Amendments, Will, Death Certificate, and a listing of all of your loved one’s assets (real estate, accounts, retirement plans, etc.) The listing of assets should include how that particular asset is titled, its value, and where it is currently held.

That depends on the terms of the Trust and whether all of the Trust assets are to be distributed immediately or whether the Trust is intended to be ongoing, for example to take care of young children until they get older.

The Trustee’s job ends when the Trust is fully distributed and all other Trustee obligations are completed.

FAQ
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