Estate Planning Lawyer St. Paul MN
An estate planning lawyer can help you plan your future and provide the best future possible for your family and friends, but they can also help if you’ve been named in someone’s will or trust and you need help navigating what comes after the loss of a loved one.
Any loss means taking time to grieve, but it’s difficult to get the closure you need when you’re struggling with legal proceedings and unfamiliar paperwork. Fortunately, an estate planning Lawyer in St. Paul MN from Johnston Martineau, PLLP can provide all the information you need. Read this brief FAQ to get a better understanding of how an estate lawyer can help if you’ve been named in someone’s trust.
What Does it Mean if I’m Named the Trustee?
If you were named as the trustee in someone’s living trust, it means you shoulder the responsibility of following the instructions left behind in the trust. You are in charge of fulfilling the last wishes of the person who has died, and you have to follow the terms and conditions of the trust as closely as possible. It’s a lot of work, and chances are you were chosen for good reason: You’re the most responsible and reasonable person the decedent knew, and now you get to make good on their expectations.
What Does Trust Administration Entail?
When someone dies and leaves behind a will, their estate has to go through probate court. Probate is a long and complicated process that has plenty of openings for legal infighting, taxes, and fees. However, it’s an essential part of making sure someone’s assets get to the right people.
A trust is a great way to avoid probate, but it comes with its own share of problems and complications. When you administer a trust, there are a few important steps you have to follow, and if you fail to stick to these steps as closely as possible, you could be sued by other members of the estate for neglecting your duty as the trustee.
What are the Steps of Trust Administration?
The first thing you have to do when administering a trust is gather all the required paperwork. This means tracking down important documentation about assets and investments owned by the decedent, as well as seeing what should be done with these assets in accordance with the decedent’s last wishes.
After tracking down all the required paperwork, you’ll have to secure the assets and have them valued. It’s important to have the assets secured, because the next step involves reaching out to everyone named in the trust so they can get what was left behind for them. When you notify the beneficiaries of a trust, it’s your job to provide a copy of the trust in the event they request copies, so everyone can be on the same page and proceed with confidence.
As trustee, you’ll have to pay off any outstanding debts and fees before distributing assets. You may have secured the assets and informed the beneficiaries, but you still have to pay taxes and fees before the beneficiaries receive a single cent. These fees and expenses include funeral fees and cremation costs, and if the decedent had any outstanding debts, you’ll have to square those away as well.
Once everything has been paid for, you’re finally able to oversee the distribution of assets amongst the beneficiaries. This should be done in accordance to the instructions left behind in the trust.
Contact an Estate Planning Lawyer Today
Trust administration requires a lot of work and takes several steps. It’s common for people to have questions about what they should do if they’ve been named a trustee, but fortunately you can contact an estate planning lawyer for more information. Reach out to Johnston Martineau, PLLP today.