TRUST ADMINISTRATION ATTORNEY

MICHAEL DAIELLO

As an attorney to trustees, Michael Daiello helps distribute trust assets efficiently and reduce stress.

Solutions for Trustees

After the death of a loved one, it can be overwhelming for even the most savvy person to focus on performing the duties of a trustee. The last thing on your mind as a trustee may be administering a trust and the legal responsibilities. If you have never administered a trust before, the thought of doing so may be daunting.

It is important to follow established practices so that the trustee is protected and litigation is avoided. We represent trustees to complete their trust administration duties correctly and with minimal stress.

We will guide you through the steps to help you navigate the trust administration process.

As a trust administration law firm, we can help you navigate the responsibilities of serving as a trustee. When a trust is left behind after the passing of a loved one, the process of trust administration will need to be undertaken. The duty of the trustee is to manage the property, funds and other assets in the trust. The trustee is also responsible for distributing the assets to the beneficiaries of the trust. We guide families through the trust administration process to ensure that the process is effective and efficient.

It is easier to avoid a costly mistake than to resolve a legal or tax problem due to improper trust administration. We will take over the trust administration process so that you can avoid legal or tax mistakes and properly distribute the trust assets. If you have been named as the administrator of a trust, please contact us today.

Here are just some of the problems we can help you resolve:

  • Review and interpretation of the trust document
  • Explanation of the trustee’s administration duties
  • Managing the responsibilities owed to beneficiaries
  • Preparation and filing of required tax returns
  • Distributing the trust income and property to the beneficiaries
  • Efficient completion and closure of the trust
  • Avoidance of legal liability due to improper trust administration
  • Court filings and petitions for extraordinary matters
  • Opening a probate estate for any assets not titled in the trust

Have you been named as a trustee of a loved one’s trust?

Call us for help to handle the details and efficiently administer your trust.

Whether you are an appointed professional or family member, we can help you reduce stress and avoid costly mistakes.

Complete the Trust Administration Process

Trust administration is a process that occurs after the death of the creator of the trust. In many ways, trust administration is similar to probate of an estate. The main difference is that probate is a court supervised and public process. There are a long list of trust management activities which vary from one trust to another. These differences can determine how much work will be involved. We help provide peace of mind throughout the administration process until the trust is brought to closure.

Distribute Assets to Beneficiaries

The trust document should specify how distribution is made to the beneficiaries. Most trusts specify a simple outright distribution, while others specify a staggered or discretionary distribution. In either case, an accounting should be prepared for the beneficiaries showing exactly how the distribution was calculated. Trusts which contain non-cash assets are transferred by their own methods. For example, a real estate transfer requires preparation of a deed and real estate transfer tax certification to make a transfer to a beneficiary.

Make the Right Judgment Calls

A named trustee typically has never served as a trustee before. Even for those who have previously served, all trusts are different and involve different steps. Even if everything in a trust is spelled out in the clearest possible terms, there will be many decisions to be made. When is it safe to make distributions to beneficiaries? How do you keep track of your expenditures? Do you have to prepare an accounting for the beneficiaries? How much can you compensate yourself as trustee?

Closure of the Trust

Once your job as trustee comes to an end, it is important to properly close the trust administration. A trustee can be released from fiduciary obligations and avoid future problems if careful steps were taken before terminating the trust. Written notice should be sent beneficiaries that the trust is being dissolved after the trust expenses are paid and assets distributed. The trust document may also provide additional instructions for proper closure.

Avoid Legal Liability for Improper Trust Administration

It is always easier to avoid a costly mistake than it is to defend a lawsuit due to a mistake. The trustee has the right to control trust assets and handle the legal and financial affairs of the trust. But a trustee can be held personally liable to beneficiaries due to mistakes or omissions. Proper administration can reduce the risk of liability claims by beneficiaries for things that happened during the administration process.

Resolve Legal and Title Problems for Trust Property

Real estate often comes with legal and title problems. For example, a property may have title defects or mortgage liens which were never satisfied in the chain of title. Trust property that was jointly owned with another person must be partitioned through the court system if the co-owner does not cooperate. In some circumstances, occupants who have no lawful right to reside in the property must be ejected. We use the court system to help you clear the legal obstacles to distributing or selling trust property.

TESTIMONIALS

Can’t say enough about Michael’s professionalism, honesty, and ability to get the job done. Great working with him.

I’m very pleased to say Mike is an excellent professional. I found him because of an article he wrote but it turned out to be a great choice. Mike is not only a highly capable lawyer, he is well versed in a broad range of areas of the law. I’d certainly recommend him to others and will ask for his help in the future.

PROBATE CASE STUDIES

Probate Process Resolved for Surviving Spouse

It is never easy coming to terms with the passing of a beloved spouse, especially the major lifestyle changes and financial challenges.

The spouse’s grieving process itself takes time and energy to process. Unfortunately, the burden of dealing with the administration of the loved one’s estate becomes a pressing matter while still working through the grief. This was exactly the situation for a Pennsylvania client of ours who lost her husband in 2019.

Our client was faced with numerous complicated estate matters involving the deceased husband’s assets. Her husband was the owner of a successful business in Pennsylvania that remained profitable through the time of his passing. Because the husband was co-owner of the business with other individuals, our client was now tied into the business with his former partners. Additionally, the husband owned real estate in Pennsylvania in his sole name which he acquired long before the marriage. Although our client was now the rightful owner under his will, the property was occupied by distance relatives who refused to leave.

We proceeded to petition the Register of Wills to open an estate for the late husband requesting our client to be name Executrix. Once Letters Testamentary were issued to our client, we handled all aspects of this complex probate process and settled the estate. We represented our client in negotiations for a sale of her interest in the husband’s business with the former business partners. Because our firm is also well equipped to resolve estate property roadblocks, we helped our client eject the occupant from the estate property. The property was later listed and sold, and our client was able to move on from entanglements with distant relatives.

Our client and all the rightful heirs received their inheritance due under the will and were satisfied with the outcome. The estate administration process was completed by our firm so that our client could focus on her own needs, not legal matters.

If you or someone you know is faced with a probate process, call for a free case evaluation at (215) 918-4242.

Disclaimer: While we’re proud of our past victories, please note that past results are not indicative of future results and each case is unique.

Roadblocks Cleared for Beneficiary of Estate Property

Our office routinely helps our clients resolve roadblocks to selling their estate inheritance property. It is not uncommon for properties passed by a will to be encumbered by legal problems. Some of the legal problems our clients may face include estate properties that were co-owned by the deceased and title problems that prevent clear title to the property.

We recently handled a case in which our client was the beneficiary of an estate property, but legal problems prevented the property from being sold. Our client’s beloved grandmother left a will leaving her interest in a home to our client. However, the property was titled in the name of the grandmother and her former husband who was also deceased. Because the grandmother and her former husband co-owned the property after divorce, our client held a one-half interest from her grandmother. The other one-half interest belonged to the heirs of the former husband. Unfortunately, the heirs refused to cooperate with our client in selling the property or arranging a buyout.

To further complicate matters, a title search uncovered an old mortgage for $65,000 which had been taken out by the former husband. The mortgage was paid in full but was never recorded as “satisfied” by the lender. This resulted in a lien, or debt against his property that needed to be resolved. Our client could not receive his full profit from the sale of the house until the debt was resolved. But the lender was now defunct, so obtaining a satisfaction was difficult. This meant that the mortgage was valid so far as the public records were concerned.

Our office filed a legal action against the opposing heirs to sever the interests in the property and request court permission to sell. We also pursued a claim against the defunct lender seeking a court decree that the lien was invalid and unenforceable. Through the legal processes, we were able to successfully petition the Orphans’ Court for approval to sell. The mortgage lien was also declared invalid by the Court which prevented our client’s proceeds from being placed into escrow after sale.

If you or someone you know is faced with a legal roadblock to an estate property, call for a free case evaluation at (215) 918-4242.

Disclaimer: While we’re proud of our past victories, please note that past results are not indicative of future results and each case is unique.

CONTACT US

Pennsylvania Probate

Law Firm

230 S. Broad Street

17th Floor

Philadelphia, PA 19102

Phone

Email

Facebook

Instagram

DOWNLOAD THE PENNSYLVANIA PROBATE HANDBOOK

You'll also receive access to our monthly probate tips, plain-language legal guides and more.


FREE EVALUATION

MICHAEL DAIELLO

ATTORNEY

As an attorney to trustees, Michael Daiello helps distribute trust assets efficiently and reduce stress. It is always better to avoid a costly mistake than it is to resolve a legal or tax problem due to improper estate or trust administration. I provide sound guidance so that you can avoid pitfalls and focus on what matters most.