A trustee’s role is multi-faceted and complex
Retaining an attorney to advise or serve as your trustee can give peace of mind. Our trust attorneys are here for you.
Serving as trustee can be overwhelming and confusing.
A trustee is responsible for carrying out various duties as outlined in the trust agreement; the trustee must also observe duties and requirements under state law for trust administration. These duties involve careful financial management, maintenance of the trust assets, accounting for distributions, and filing tax returns and paying any applicable tax. Trustees have a duty to impartially administer the trust with care and in the best interest of the beneficiaries.
When it comes time to administer a trust, whether upon creation of an irrevocable trust or the death of the settlor of a revocable living trust, complying with the often complex provisions, meeting tax requirements, and managing and distributing trust assets can overwhelm the trustee and result in delays or mistakes. A trustee may be unfamiliar with these matters or unprepared to manage them effectively. We offer administrative trustee services to provide advice and assistance on issues including tax reporting, accounting, and other trust administration matters.
While the types of assets held in different trusts vary, your role as a trustee remains constant.
Our experienced and knowledgeable trust attorneys are well versed in trust laws in North Carolina, Tennessee, New York, and Florida. They can advise on all aspects of trust administration, including division into sub-trusts, compliance with complex tax laws, proper trust distribution practices, trustee responsibilities, and more. Our firm also offers a guide for successor trustees that provides valuable information for the administration of revocable living trusts.
Hiring an attorney to serve as trustee or executor can help prevent costly errors.
Individuals or entities serving as trustee or executor have fiduciary responsibilities. Those who serve in these roles could be held personally responsible for even unintended errors. Undue delay, unfamiliarity with legal requirements, and carelessness could cause legal consequences for trustees and executors, and may contribute to trust and estate administration delays and costs. The consequences of violating a fiduciary duty are broad, ranging from penalties and damages to possible felony charges. Our trust administration lawyers help trustees administer virtually any type of trust.
Individuals and families often engage our trust and probate attorneys to act as trustee or executor. Hiring an attorney to serve as trustee or executor can help prevent costly errors, alleviate the burden being placed on a loved one, and ensure a legal professional carries out necessary steps. In some cases, an individual names an attorney to serve these roles far in advance during their planning process. In other cases, our attorneys are retained when a trustee or executor is unable or unavailable to serve.
Aside from the legal benefits of choosing an attorney as trustee (or successor trustee) or executor, this planning move prevents issues of favoritism or negative sentiments from surfacing between surviving family members who may feel disappointed a relative was named instead of themselves. Choosing an attorney also ensures that surviving family members won’t face the unpleasant administrative obligations in the wake of a loved one’s death. This time could instead focus on grieving, honoring the decedent, rebuilding family life, and personal responsibilities.
Schedule a call with one of our trust attorneys to learn more.