A trust is basically a way of holding property that separates the rights and responsibilities of ownership from its benefits. A trustee administers trust property on behalf of a beneficiary according to the terms of the trust itself.
Although trusts of different kinds can serve a wide variety of purposes, many people have used revocable living trusts as a way to keep property out of probate after they die. While it is true that a properly created living trust can hold and transfer property so as to keep it out of probate after death, the responsibilities of trust administration after the trustor's death can also be complicated.
Sound Advice About Trust Administration in South Dakota
If you need advice about the duties of a successor trustee under a revocable living trust, contact the Helsper, McCarty, Mahlke, and Kleinjan Law Firm to learn how an experienced attorney's advice can save you headaches and possible liabilities. We provide comprehensive client service that may help avoid disputes with beneficiaries or between beneficiaries. We can also advise you about the full range of your responsibilities, from reporting, to asset management, to tax returns.
Professional trust officers usually perform the duties of a trustee under complex corporate or charitable trusts, but almost anyone can be named as the successor trustee when the original trustee dies (assuming the trust is still amendable). The successor trustee's job can be complicated from the get-go, because the transfer of responsibilities is not automatic. Our lawyers can advise you about transference and other essential duties, including:
- Notice to beneficiaries
- Inventory and appraisal of trust assets
- Trust accounting and reporting
- Expense reporting and recovery
- Trust and fiduciary tax returns
Parents who set up trusts for their children can face transference issues when one of the parents dies, especially where stepchildren are involved. If a trust is not properly administered, it could represent a breach of fiduciary duty and potential legal action. We can review the trust documents and help you carry out the terms. Our legal team can also advise the family if the surviving spouse remarries and new trustees are involved.
When Trusts Need to Be Split Into Sub-Trusts
Some trusts must be split into sub-trusts when a trustee dies, especially when bypass or credit shelter trusts are used to double the value of an estate tax exemption on the death of the first spouse. Improper trust administration in these cases can result in the loss of thousands if you neglect to keep your trust compliant with federal tax law. Our attorneys can help protect the full benefits of your estate plan through additional tax planning components and guarding against potential remainder beneficiary issues involving stepchildren.