Having an experienced trust administration attorney help you properly fund a trust is crucial to carrying out your estate plan and avoiding probate.
To help you properly fund your trust, assets must be titled in the name of your trust or transferred (pay-on-death) to your trust. A Missouri trust administration attorney works with you to make the necessary changes and ensure that the complex and time-consuming process of retitling is completed correctly. We can walk you through this process and give you specific instructions for all of your property and assets. We also transfer businesses, real estate, and other property to your trust.
Trust Administration After Death
After death, certain tasks will need to be completed for the trust to be administered properly. Trust assets and expenses must be accounted for, notices and reports may need to be prepared, and distributions need to be made according to the terms of the trust. Obtaining an EIN and filing a trust tax return may also need to be completed. A Missouri trust administration attorney can work with your trustee to help ensure trust administration is handled appropriately. Many trustees are new to the administration process and reach out for legal guidance right away.
When a loved one dies, leaving you as the estate’s trustee, you are responsible for the trust administration. This unfamiliar process has many deadlines and actions that can feel overwhelming. Acting as a trustee is a fiduciary role that may leave you liable for any mistakes you make. We work with trustees to prevent that from happening.
Trust Administration During Life
Although revocable living trusts require minimal administration while the grantor or trustmaker is alive and well, it is important that a trust is amended to reflect changes in the grantors’ or trustmakers’ lives, such as births, deaths, divorce, remarriage, and significant changes in asset levels. Additionally, it is important that as new assets are acquired, such as real estate, investment accounts, cars, or anything else of value, that it is funded into your trust.
Irrevocable trusts may require more extensive administration during the trustmaker’s life, including providing notices and accountings to beneficiaries, filing trust tax returns, and ensuring that trust distributions are made according to the terms of the trust.
Probate and Estate Administration
When someone dies, sometimes portions (or all) of their estate must be administered by your named personal representative through the court system, often referred to as probate. If they have no will, state law determines who the personal representative will be and how assets are administered. We can assist you with probate and estate administration if it becomes necessary. Many people are overcome by the process, especially while grieving the loss of a loved one. We help gather and evaluate assets, file paperwork, and distribute assets to heirs and beneficiaries properly, as required by the court.
However, when you work with us to prepare your estate plan, one of our goals is to ensure your heirs can avoid probate and simplify estate administration in Missouri. Why do you want to avoid probate?
A Lack of Privacy
Probate cases are filed in court and are in the public record.
Probate court allows interested persons the opportunity to represent their claim on the estate by challenging or contesting a will and may require that potential heirs not named in a trust or will be given legal notice of the proceeding.
Like most things that end up in the court system, probate can be time-consuming. In more complex estates, the entire process can last months or years.
Costly Court Process
Since probate requires extensive paperwork and possibly even court appearances, the legal fees can mount up quickly.
Creating trusts preserves and protects your assets, and your estate can be settled outside of probate more quickly and privately. Contact us to learn more about probate and trust administration and estate planning services, including long-term care and Medicaid planning, as well as protecting a loved one with special needs.