Law Office of Rick Todd Blog

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Guide to Trust Administration, Law, and Lawyers

Trust administration is one of the oldest area of laws in the United States. Whether you live in Columbia, Maryland or Ellicott City, trusts can be used for a wide variety of purposes. For the most part, trusts are divided into two large categories: revocable and irrevocable. Both types of trusts are commonly created by estate planning attorneys and have advantages over wills in that they avoid or minimize the size of the estate for probate (and help to avoid the estate tax).

But, how are trusts administered? It's actually done similarly to the way wills are administered. A person is selected who is trustworthy and capable and then that person administers the trust’s assets and distributions. Often times this is done by a trust company or a bank’s or financial institution’s trust division.

Those in charge of trust administration are known as "trustees" and they are fiduciaries: this means they have legal responsibilities to be trustworthy. I’ve copied a list from NOLO about the basic things a trustee must do when the trust they have administered goes into effect:

  •   get death certificates

  •   find and file the will with the local probate court

  •   notify the Social Security Administration of the death

  •   notify the state Department of Health

  •   identify the trust beneficiaries

  •   notify the beneficiaries

  •   inventory trust assets

  •   protect trust property

  •   get a Taxpayer Identification Number

  •   transfer property into your name as trustee

 review trust investments
 set up a record-keeping system
 get assets appraised, and pay debts.

You may notice that these are very similar to the requirements of being the executor of a will. If you as a client are wondering whether a will or a trust is right for you, you can see that both are a similar level of difficulty when it comes to their administration. The real factor in determining whether managing an estate or trust is going to be difficult is by looking at the person who will die. Do they have a lot of debt? Are they wealthy or poor? Is there a threat of litigation from people who wish to have money from the person who will die? These are just a few of the things that you will have to consider.


Archived Posts


The Law Offices of Rick Todd has offices located in Columbia, Chevy Chase, Fairfax, Virginia, and Maryland and serves clients throughout Clarksville, Columbia, Ellicott City, Fulton, Rockville, Bethesda, Potomac, Laurel, Howard County, Montgomery County, and Washington D.C.

© 2024 The Law Offices of Rick Todd | Terms & Conditions
5850 Waterloo Road, Suite 140, Columbia, MD 21045
| Phone: (443) 720-7500
1765 Greensboro Station Place, 900, McLean, VA 22102
| Phone: (443) 720-7500
2 Wisconsin Circle, 700, Chevy Chase, MD 20815
| Phone: (443) 720-7500

Offshore Trusts & Asset Protection | Estate Planning | Estate Tax Planning | Estate Planning with Wills | Advanced Estate Planning | Religious Estate Planning | Planning for Children | Pet Trusts | Probate / Estate Administration | Special Needs Planning | Trusts & Estate Planning | Business Succession Planning | Residential Real Estate | Divorce Mediation | Mediation | Attorney Profiles