One of the most difficult things to cope with after a death is the fact that you now have legal issues to face. You must take care of winding up the affairs of the person who you loved who has passed away. This means making sure you follow their instructions, respect their wishes and transfer their assets to the people who are supposed to receive them.
There are different processes used for the transfer of assets after death. One of those processes is trust administration. It can be a complicated process, but it doesn’t have to be if you get the right legal help. Biddinger, Bitzer & Estelle, PLLC is here for you. Our Michigan trust administration lawyers will provide guidance to all parties with an interest in the administration process. To find out more, give us a call now at 989-872-5601. We can provide personalized advice and answers to questions including:
- What is trust administration?
- Who should have legal help during trust administration?
- How can a Northern Michigan trust administration lawyer help you?
What Is Trust Administration?
Trust administration takes place in situations where a person created a trust prior to passing away. In the trust creation document, the trust creator – or settlor as he is called – would provide instructions for the trust. These instructions include details on who should serve as trustee and who the trust beneficiaries are. Depending upon the type of trust, the trust document can also specify what the trust assets are to be used for, how the trust assets are to be distributed to beneficiaries, and when this process of distributing assets should take place.
The trustee is responsible for following the instructions, as well as for following Michigan laws for dealing with trusts after a death. The trustee must take over management of trust assets immediately after a death to make sure that investments and property are safe, protected, and don’t lose value due to mismanagement. The trustee also has to go through the process of trust administration.
Typically, trust administration will involve doing things like providing notice to creditors and to trust beneficiaries; keeping an accounting of trust property and income; making payments as required out of trust assets; and filing tax returns as well as paying taxes that are due. The trust administrator also has to go through the process of transferring the legal ownership of the trust assets to the new owners according to instructions in the trust document. Sometimes, this can be complicated when deeds and titles need to be transferred.
During this process, those who were named as beneficiaries in the trust will want to monitor the trust administration process to make sure the property they will inherit from the trust is being managed and to make sure the trust administrator is doing his job in moving the property transfer forward.
Who Should Have Legal Help During Trust Administration?
Trust administrators or trustees are said to have a fiduciary duty, which is the highest duty that the law imposes on a person. Trust administrators have to make sure they follow the law, followed the deceased person’s instructions, and don’t misuse or misappropriate trust assets.
They also need to know lots of different steps that must be taken under Michigan law to fulfill their trust administration responsibilities. Because this process can be difficult under the best of circumstances and a death is far from the best of circumstances, trustees may face a lot of stress. They should not try to go it alone. Having the proper legal help ensures the trust administration process will go smoothly and the assets in the trust will transfer to heirs when and how they should.
Those who stand to inherit from the trust may also want a legal advocate on their side to help them monitor the progress of trust administration and to assist them in taking action if something goes wrong. Trust administration usually takes place outside of court, but you can petition the court if there is a problem and/or if you are seeking a legal remedy. Finally, those who believe a trust shouldn’t be considered a valid one can get legal help if they wish to contest the trust.
How Can a Northern Michigan Trust Administration Lawyer Help You?
Biddinger, Bitzer & Estelle, PLLC provides comprehensive assistance throughout the trust administration process to trustees, beneficiaries, and other interested parties including those who wish to challenge the trust. We assist clients in Cass City, Bad Axe, Caro, Deckerville, Reese, and surrounding areas throughout Michigan. Give us a call today at 989-872-5601 or contact us online to find out more.