As the backbone of an estate plan, working with a trust administration attorney can help you make educated, better-informed decisions about your assets.
At the Law Office of Ralph W. Powers Jr., P.C., our trust administration team is dedicated to ensuring the duties of trustees are carried out properly while avoiding unnecessary legal complications and liability.
What Is Trust Administration?
Trust administration involves managing the assets in the trust. There are several types of trusts in Maryland, with the most common falling into one of three categories:
- Testamentary Trusts: A testamentary trust is part of a person’s will. It provides instructions to establish how trust property will be distributed after one’s passing. These trusts are established only after death, and a will may have multiple testamentary trusts.
- Revocable Trusts: Also called a living trust or inter vivos trust, a revocable trust is made during your lifetime. The assets may be distributed while the grantor is still alive, with the grantor being able to control the provisions of the trust up until the point of death or loss of capacity.
- Irrevocable Trusts: As the name suggests, the terms of an irrevocable trust cannot be changed, revoked, or terminated. There are exceptions to this rule, which often involve court intervention and the assistance of an estate planning attorney.
What Does a Trust Administrator Do?
Whether the trust is funded during the grantor’s lifetime or upon their death, the role of the trustee is to follow the instructions provided in a trust while protecting the funded assets. This administration is handled by a trustee, who is typically named by the grantor. The role of the trustee can be fulfilled by:
- A friend or family member
- An attorney or accountant with experience in trust administration, or
- A corporate trustee or trust company
An individual trustee may also hire lawyers, accountants, and other advisors to make decisions consistent with the grantor’s wishes that protect the interests of the beneficiaries, including family members.
An Example of Administering a Trust
In the case of a testamentary trust, the trust administrator is responsible for distributing the assets, which can involve several complicated processes and large quantities of paperwork.
Typical processes include:
- Collect, organize, and inventory trust assets
- Manage payments for expenses, liabilities, and taxes
- Provide notice to beneficiaries and tax agencies
- Account for trust assets and liabilities
- Transfer title
- Liquidate assets
- Distribute assets to beneficiaries according to the provisions in the trust
When to Seek a Trust Administration Attorney
The administrator of the trust must be aware of and follow the letter of the law for notice periods and probate requirements to honor the intentions of the trust.
Because the process can be complicated, retaining a lawyer, even for relatively simple trust formation and administration, can expedite timelines and ensure everything is set up and administered correctly.
Contact an Experienced Trust Administration Lawyer
Located in Prince George’s County, the Law Office of Ralph W. Powers, Jr. P.C. has more than four decades of experience in the trust administration process. Contact our office to schedule a confidential consultation.