trust administration

Estate and Trust Administration and Fiduciary Appointments

Estate and Trust Administration is the process by which an individual’s assets are held by either a trust or an estate and are legally and efficiently managed and distributed during life (inter vivos) or at death (testamentary). We are often called upon to advise and represent personal representatives engaged in the probate court process, as well as trustees and interested beneficiaries. These services include, where necessary, petitioning a court for appointment as a fiduciary, marshaling the assets of an estate or trust, paying creditors, filing income and estate taxes and distributing assets as well as other related matters. In certain limited circumstances, the individual members of the firm may be willing to accept an appointment as a personal representative, trustee or other type of fiduciary. 

As mentioned above, utilizing a trust-based estate plan is often less expensive and time-consuming than going through the probate process in Massachusetts. While trust-based estate plans often allow a smoother transition after a loved one’s death, families must still undergo a trust administration process that requires the help of an estate planning lawyer and other professionals, such as accountants and appraisers. Understanding the duties and expenses related to trust administration will help families as they navigate the process.

Regardless of which type of administration is necessary, or in those situations where there is both an estate and trust administration, the following tasks will be required of the fiduciary. The attorneys at Bourget Law Group are also able to assist as necessary in these areas:

  • Taking control of all assets 
  • Appraising all assets at their fair market values
  • Filing an affidavit regarding the decedent
  • Sending notices to the decedent’s legal heirs
  • Sending notice of the decedent’s death to the beneficiaries of the Will or Trust
  • Managing assets according to the Will or Trust agreement
  • Wisely investing or overseeing the investment of assets 
  • Filing a final income tax return on behalf of the decedent
  • Opening a bank account for the Estate and/or Trust
  • Determining the beneficiary interest in the decedent’s retirement accounts
  • Notifying all financial institutions and banks of the decedent’s death
  • Possibly filing an estate tax return
  • Making tax decisions that can impact the assets in the Estate and/or Trust and transferring or selling assets to pay tax liability and other debts

In certain instances, one of the attorneys at Bourget Law Group will be appointed as a trustee and as a result will be required to provide the following services:

  • Payment of bills and other distributions
  • Accounting
  • Working with clients and beneficiaries to develop spending plans that balance payment for current needs and the preservation of assets for anticipated future needs
  • Investment supervision (more on this below)
  • Supervision of tax return preparation
  • Periodic meetings with beneficiaries
  • Managing investments
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