Having a trust can provide some advantages over a will. Trusts can alleviate some of the tax burdens that fall on larger estates. One of the main reasons and advantages of having a trust is that the property can be passed on without having to go through probate. While this can alleviate some of the time and costs associated with probating an estate, it also means that the trustee has to ensure that the trust is administered correctly without court oversight.
Responsibilities of a trustee
The trustee has a number of responsibilities after the death of the settlor of the trust. One is that they need to provide written acceptance of being a trustee or a Certification of Trust to officially give them the authority to administer the trust.
Then they must provide notice to the beneficiaries of the trust providing the settlor’s name and the date the trust was created. It also must state the name, address and phone number of the trustee and where the administration will take place. It must inform the beneficiaries that they have a right to a copy of the trust and the deadlines for objecting to the trust. The trustee must also notify the Assessor’s Office if there is real property in the trust.
The trustee then needs to inventory all of the assets in the trust and value each asset. Once the assets are valued, the trustee must follow the instructions in the trust and distribute the assets to the beneficiaries accordingly. The trustee is also responsible for ensuring any estate tax returns are completed and filed.
Being a trustee is a very important job that comes with many responsibilities. Some of the responsibilities are more complicated than others, but trustees may need assistance valuing property, ensuring all notices are given, properly distributing assets and preparing the taxes. Experienced attorneys understand trustees’ responsibilities and may be able to guide one through the process.