Long Island Trust Administration Lawyers Assisting Clients During Challenging Times
Also Serving: New York City
Losing a loved one can be a challenging experience for many reasons. You may go through some difficult emotions as you mourn their loss. It can also be tough for families to move on and come to an agreement regarding settling the estate assets that the deceased person left behind.
If the decedent, or person who died, had a trust in place, things become even more complicated. The trust administration process can help protect the decedent’s assets from creditors and predators and minimize the estate taxes that must be paid. However, administering a trust is a complex process that must be carried out appropriately for the trust’s assets to be distributed according to the deceased person’s wishes.
If your family member passed away and left behind trust accounts, you should contact a reliable estate administration attorney immediately. Your lawyer can help you avoid probate and ensure that the trustee carries out their responsibilities efficiently. If necessary, your lawyer can also help guide you through probate court to minimize the adverse effects this costly process can cause.
Call the Davidov Law Group immediately for more information on trust administration and guidance specific to your needs. Call (516) 253-1366 to speak with our talented legal team and schedule a consultation today!
What is a Trust?
Trusts store assets that an individual wishes to keep safe from creditors and predators. There are many kinds of trusts, each with different purposes and regulations. Some trusts offer more flexibility but less protection. Other trusts, like irrevocable trusts, give the creator, or grantor, excellent protection but less ability to access the trust assets.
Trusts can hold many kinds of assets, including stocks, bonds, checking account funds, retirement accounts, real property, vehicles, and other valuables. Trust funds are controlled by a trustee or person designated to have access to the trust. When the grantor dies, the trustee is also responsible for distributing trust assets to the beneficiaries named in the trust. This can include family members such as parents, a spouse, minor children, grandchildren, and adult children. Other possible beneficiaries include friends, charities, and even pets.
Trusts are a valuable part of an estate plan, giving the grantor more control over how their estate assets are distributed, privacy during the estate administration process, and even protection from the estate tax. Contact our law firm right away if you need help creating or administering a trust for yourself or a loved one.
What Are Some Common Types of Trusts?
One of the great advantages of having a trust is the flexibility that this gives the grantor in how their assets are distributed to beneficiaries. Family members can also benefit from a trust following the death of their loved one because they will know precisely how to handle the estate administration. This removes a great deal of strain that could harm family relationships while sorting out the inheritance left by the decedent.
When administering a trust, it is essential to understand what kind of trust it is so the purposes of the trust can be carried out. The following are some common forms of trusts in the Long Island area:
A living trust is unique in that the grantor may name him or herself as trustee during their lifetime. This means the individual who created the trust retains control over the trust funds until they pass away. A living trust should include a successor trustee who will administer the trust following the grantor’s death.
These trusts are a powerful way to protect assets from probate, saving family members from the costly and expensive probate court process.
A revocable trust is any trust that may be changed by the grantor. A living trust is one example of a revocable trust. In these accounts, the grantor retains control over the trust funds until their death. At that time, the assets may be transferred to the beneficiaries named in the trust.
Irrevocable trusts cannot be changed, and assets held within these accounts cannot be removed. These trusts offer a great deal of protection for the grantor and beneficiaries. However, you should consult with a legal professional before creating an irrevocable trust to be sure it is the right choice for you, as these trusts are not easily amended if you change your mind later.
Charitable Remainder Trust
As its name suggests, a charitable trust allows the grantor’s preferred charitable organization to benefit from the assets in the trust. Sometimes, the assets may be transferred during the donor’s life. Other times, the donation is made after the grantor’s death. Charitable trusts offer tax advantages and a high amount of flexibility when it comes to distributing assets.
Animal Companion Trust
Another type of trust that is less well-known is the animal companion trust. In these accounts, a beloved pet may be the recipient of trust funds following the trust creator’s death.
Asset Protection Trust
Finally, an asset protection trust, or APT, offers a high level of protection against creditors, lawsuits, and judgments brought against the owner. The grantor can be named as a beneficiary in these trusts, making this a self-settled trust. APTs are irrevocable trusts, so the protection comes with a loss of control over the assets except for occasional distributions at the independent trustee’s discretion.
What Are the Steps in Trust Administration?
If your loved one left behind a trust when they passed away, you may wonder how to handle the trust administration process while simultaneously mourning the loss of your family member. At this time, it is critical to contact a legal representative who can help you distribute trust funds and watch out for your family’s best interests.
The following are some important steps during the trust administration process:
Taking Inventory of Assets
When beginning the trust administration process, the trustee should first assess what valuables are held within the trust and determine the worth of the account. Your attorney can help ensure everything is appropriately valued, as this can affect taxes owed and what creditors are paid, if necessary.
Filing the Estate Tax
Another critical step in estate administration is determining the amount of estate tax due to the IRS. This includes determining whether the estate is valued over New York’s limit for federal estate taxes. Filing with the IRS is also essential to avoid any problems arising from not paying the estate tax due.
Settling Claims with Creditors
One of the most important steps in estate administration is to satisfy creditors who have a claim on the decedent’s wealth. This includes the IRS, home mortgage companies, banks, and credit card companies.
Dividing Trust Assets
Next, the trustee should distribute the trust fund’s assets to the assigned beneficiaries as designated by the trustor. The individual assigned with this task must understand that they are to follow the instructions in the trust, not their personal preferences during this process.
Distributing Assets to Beneficiaries
When it is time to assign assets to beneficiaries, each individual receiving from the trust should be notified right away. For help following New York guidelines on this process, please speak with a trusted estate attorney right away.
What is the Trustee’s Responsibility?
In the State of New York, the trustee is recognized as a person with a fiduciary duty to administer the trust as specified by the trustor. In this case, a fiduciary duty means they owe a high level of care and faithfulness to the deceased person’s wishes. They agree not to administer the trust funds in any way other than how the grantor instructed.
Some of the duties held by the trustee are to assess the value of the trust, file with the proper authorities regarding taxes or probate, and distribute the assets to beneficiaries according to the grantor’s wishes. The trustee must also ensure that beneficiaries qualify for the trust funds, such as being of proper age and fulfilling the grantor’s instructions before receiving trust assets.
If you have been named as trustee for someone’s trust fund, please get in touch with an experienced trust administration attorney right away for help in fulfilling your duties. Your responsibilities as trustee can be overwhelming, but they must be completed in accordance with the law. Having a professional on your side can give you the peace of mind that the trust will be distributed properly so you can proceed confidently.
How Can Trust Administration Lawyers Help Me?
Moving forward in trust administration without an attorney can have devastating consequences. If the necessary tasks are not completed according to New York law, assets might not be distributed properly, leading to the costly and time-consuming probate process, also known as surrogate’s court. A lawyer can also help ensure that all deadlines are met, including payment of taxes.
Some other duties fulfilled by an estate lawyer when administering a trust are:
- Gathering, protecting, and managing assets
- Notifying beneficiaries and heirs
- Filing taxes
- Identifying and inventorying assets
- Handling the federal estate tax return if necessary
- Distributing trust funds in accordance with the grantor’s wishes
- Implementing business succession plans
- Collecting life insurance on behalf of heirs
- Locating creditors and paying all remaining debts
- Resolving conflicts among beneficiaries
- Keeping detailed trust records
Should You Hire Our Trust Administration Attorneys?
The trust administration process can be tedious and overwhelming, especially when you are grieving for a lost family member or friend. At Davidov Law Group, we promise to listen carefully to your concerns and give you dependable legal counsel and representation as you navigate the complex and confusing trust administration process.
We have helped countless trustees and beneficiaries get the results they deserve in settling the estate of their loved ones. We aim to make this process as simple and painless as possible while ensuring all matters are tended to in accordance with New York law so your family doesn’t face any legal issues in the future. We will leverage our experience, knowledge, and compassion to achieve your family’s goals during the estate administration of your loved one.
Don’t go through this difficult process alone. Contact Davidov Law Group today for knowledgeable, understanding lawyers who will work tirelessly to help with your trust administration needs. Call (516) 253-1366 today to schedule a meeting with our talented legal team.