Trust Administration Attorney
in Columbus, Ohio
You’ve set up a living trust to take care of your loved ones and beneficiaries once you’re gone, but a nagging thought keeps running through your head: “How can I be sure everything will be done as I desire?”
A living trust allows you to administer the assets in the trust by yourself during your lifetime, but you must name a successor trustee to take over should you become incapacitated or pass away. The successor trustee is bound by Ohio law to administer your trust with the utmost integrity and fiduciary responsibility.
In choosing your successor, you should consider their responsibilities in administering your estate once you’re gone.
If you’re in Columbus, or anywhere in Central Ohio, bring your trust and estate planning questions to me at Gregory, L. Williams, Jr., Esq., Partner. I have dedicated my legal career to helping people with their estate planning concerns, and I’ll be proud to consult with you as well.
Responsibilities of the Trustee
There are different types of trusts used in estate planning, but perhaps the most popular is the living trust, also called a revocable trust. With a living trust, you can make changes as you see fit, or even abandon the trust altogether if you so choose. A trust will generally include all of your assets and name your beneficiaries.
The main advantage of a trust is avoiding probate court proceedings that are mandated if you die with just a will (or without one, called dying intestate). Probate proceedings can be lengthy, and if there are challenges, costly as well. Administering a trust is done outside of probate, and this can help speed the process and lower costs.
As mentioned, you as the grantor or trustor can name yourself as the trustee while you’re still alive, but you also need to name a successor trustee to manage the trust if you become incapacitated or pass away. A successor trustee can be a relative or close personal friend, or you can name an institution to assume the role. Upon your death, the trustee will basically fulfill all the functions of probate without having to do so in probate court.
Administering the Trust
Trust administration is governed by Chapter 5808 of the 2015 Ohio Revised Code, which states that “the trustee shall administer the trust in good faith, in accordance with its terms and purposes and the interests of the beneficiaries.”
Administering a trust can be complicated and take several months, depending on the complexity of the estate. The trustee may be well-advised to seek the professional help of an estate planning attorney in carrying out the administration of the trust.
Steps involved in the administration process generally include, but are not limited to:
Locating the trust, will, and other legal documents to understand their provisions
Identifying and inventorying all assets of the trust
Transferring property under the name of the trust
Establishing the fair market value for all assets
Securing the assets until they can be transferred to the beneficiaries
Maintaining bank records and receipts for all transactions
Paying the final bills and obligations of the trust, including taxes
Managing the trust assets on behalf of the beneficiaries, which may entail selling off some assets or making new investments or reinvestments
Finally, after settling all financial obligations, distributing the remaining assets to the appropriate beneficiaries in accordance with the wishes of the trustor
This is just a basic outline, as there may be sub-trusts and other instruments that have to be taken into consideration as well. There may also be challenges to the trust, which can further complicate the process. Again, it is advisable to work with an experienced attorney for help in administering the trust.
TRUST ADMINISTRATION ATTORNEY IN COLUMBUS, OHIO
If you’re administering a trust, I can work with you every step of the way to help you make informed decisions. If you’re in Columbus or anywhere in Central Ohio, call me Gregory, L. Williams, Jr., Esq., Partner. I am dedicated to helping clients with estate planning and with trust administration for the benefit of all parties.