Upon the death of a family member or loved one who had a Revocable Living Trust or Living Trust, the survivors go through a process called Trust Administration. The individual in charge of administering the Trust is the Trustee. Not only does the Trustee have numerous legal powers, he or she also has fiduciary obligations pursuant to Florida Law to administer the Trust in accordance with the terms of the Trust Agreement in good faith and to act in the best interest of the Trust beneficiaries. Often times, the Trust Administration process can be overwhelming. Not only do the majority of successor Trustees not have experience in carrying out the appropriate steps to administer a Trust, they are also grieving the loss of a loved one. This can make an already difficult and confusing undertaking that much more daunting.
Many grantors understand that their successor Trustees will likely need legal assistance or guidance in carrying out their duties. For this reason, most Trust Agreements actually allow Trustees to hire attorneys to represent them and even provide for the attorney’s fees to be paid from the Trust assets so it is not a direct cost to the Trustee.
Trust Administrations can be complex and require in depth knowledge of a variety of legal practice areas, including trust administration, estate planning, debt settlement or negotiation, and even probate law, depending on how the decedent’s assets were titled at the time of his or her passing. Moreover, the Trustee will be responsible for managing Trust assets, locating and protecting all legal documents, protecting property and prudently investing Trust assets, notifying all Trust beneficiaries of the administration, notifying and paying the decedent’s creditors, filing the Trust income tax return, if any, paying Trust income tax liability, and making distributions to beneficiaries. Don’t go it alone; contact the attorneys at Stone Law Group, P.L. to schedule your consultation today.