Both trust administration and the probate process are processes in which legal ownership of assets transfers after a person has passed away. However, trust administration and probate are very different and trust administration is often easier, faster, and cheaper for all parties involved. In fact, avoiding probate is a key benefit of living trusts. While the probate process can take around a year and cost around three to seven percent of the value of the estate, according to Investopedia, the trust administration process is handled outside of probate court (unless there is a problem) and it can be completed in a much quicker time frame.
A trust administrator is the person put in charge of trust administration. At the time when a trust is created, the settlor (the legal name given to the person who creates the trust) will name a third party successor trustee. That successor trustee becomes responsible for managing trust assets if the primary trustee (typically the settlor) becomes incapacitated. When the settlor (and primary trustee) passes away, the successor trustee takes over the management of trust assets and is put in charge of trust administration. This means that to determine who is in charge of trust administration in a particular case, you should review the trust document to determine who was named as the successor trustee.
A trustee is in charge of the trust administration process and the trustee has many responsibilities after a death. A trustee must locate the assets that the trust owns and must keep those assets safe. Trustees also must coordinate information about any accounts or insurance policies given to the trust, including annuities and retirement accounts.
Trustees have to coordinate with executors who have been put in charge of the probate process, and trustees must manage all trust assets that the trust owns until those assets are distributed to new owners. In addition, trustees have to determine if there are any creditors with valid claims and if any taxes are owed by the trust, and must pay the claims and the taxes using trust assets.
These are just some of the many responsibilities that trustees have, and trustees should consult with an experienced attorney to make certain they are fulfilling all of their obligations after the death of the trust creator.
A death certificate is necessary if a loved one who created a trust has passed away. It is possible to obtain a copy of a death certificate if you do not already have one. You need to know the process for obtaining a death certificate for trust administration so you can obtain this important document and keep the trust administration process moving forward. If you live in the state of Vermont, the vital records system keeps death certificates.
If the death occurred within the past five years, the Department of Health has the death certificates available. If the death was more than five years ago, the Vermont State Archives and Records Administration should be able to provide a copy of the death certificate. An experienced attorney can help you to determine which state agency is likely to have a copy of a death certificate that you need and can assist you with the formal process of submitting a request for a death certificate.
It is important for a trust administrator to have an experienced attorney during the trust administration process because the trust administrator has so many formal legal responsibilities that must be fulfilled. Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC can help a trustee to comply with legal requirements and to ensure the wishes of the deceased are fulfilled during the trust administration process. Heirs or beneficiaries, whose inheritance is at stake during the trust administration process, should also have an experienced attorney to make sure the process goes smoothly and assets are taken care of in an appropriate and responsible way.
Our Burlington trust administration lawyers have provided comprehensive help to all individuals and families involved in the trust administration process. If your loved one has passed away and has left a trust behind, our legal team will provide the help you need to ensure trust assets are cared for, the law is complied with, and trust assets are transferred to their new owners in a timely and efficient manner.