PENNSYLVANIA PROBATE LAW FIRM
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.
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.
Husband Leaves a Business Interest for Surviving Wife
Our client was the surviving wife whose beloved husband passed without a Will. Her husband was a successful business owner who built his business from a small startup to an enterprise with many employees. His death came at a great surprise because he was always a vibrant man who passed well before his expected time. The sudden shock and trauma of the loss combined with the lack of a Will created an overwhelming situation. His wife and family were now faced with a confusing probate and business succession situation.
The surviving wife came to us with limited experience with her husband’s business matters. Although the couple went through life together as the business was built, she was generally unfamiliar with the details of the business. She knew and trusted her husband’s business partners but was unsure what her rights were in the business.
The first step was to bring clarity to our client’s legal situation.
We Will Help You Navigate Trust Administration
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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.