Guiding a Trustee

How to help overwhelmed trustee to administer living trust

I met with Dan*, a 47-year-old process engineer who had become the successor trustee of his brother’s trust estate when his brother died at the early age of 41. Dan was unsure how to administer his brother’s trust, uncertain how to gain access to his accounts so he could start paying funeral and medical bills, and unaware of what he needed to tell his brother’s beneficiaries, which included the church his brother attended. Also, Dan worked long hours himself and had his own family to take care of. He could barely keep up with locating all of his brother’s bank account and brokerage statements, let alone know what to do with them or how or when to contact them.

By retaining my services, Dan had more time to deal with his own work and family. I was able to handle the administrative duties on Dan’s behalf, including notifying and keeping all beneficiaries informed, gathering data on all of the trust estate’s assets, getting Dan access to those accounts so bills and expenses could get paid, and providing the necessary assistance to complete the trust administration in an efficient and organized manner.

* Identities have been changed to protect client’s privacy

A Message from Shirley

After a living trust is created, most people assume there is nothing left to do, only to learn there are procedural duties owed by a “Successor Trustee” when the Settlor, the person who signed the trust, dies. A “Successor Trustee” who is unaware of these procedural duties may become frustrated. However, the reality is that these extra duties can be expertly accomplished with the assistance of an experienced trust and will attorney. Don’t be discouraged by the tasks involved in administering a living trust. This process is far easier, more expeditious, and completely private – a better alternative than going through the probate process.  Once the Trust Administration is complete and the Tax Planning issues understood, it may not be as overwhelming as it initially felt before you found the right legal advisor to help guide you through the process.