Trust Administration

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If you need legal assistance regarding trust administration matters, contact us online or call us at (615) 800-7096 today for a free consultation with an experienced attorney.

Creating a trust taking much thought and careful planning. Not only do you have to figure out who will be a beneficiary of the trust, but who will run it. Do you know who will be the administrator after you’re gone?

This is an important question and not one to take lightly. But with the trust administration lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC, we’re can help you with this answer.

What Does Trust Administration Entail?

When you create a trust, you will need to select an administrator, known as a trustee. The trustee can either be a person or an institution.  Under Tennessee law, the trustee a legal obligation of always acting in good faith and with prudence in regard to the trust.  In doing so, a trustee must place the interests of the trust’s beneficiaries above all others.

There are a lot of moving parts, all that the administrator needs to complete. Some activities include:

  • Obtaining legal documents to validate the trust
  • Collecting the funds that are owed to the trust
  • Maintaining an inventory of any property
  • Consulting all financial and legal advisors
  • Pay any debts and expense of the trust
  • Selling any property
  • Keeping accurate records and filing tax returns
  • Distributing trust income and property to beneficiaries

This is a lot of responsibility for a trust administrator which is why it’s important to select the right individual or organization to handle your trust affairs.

The Steps of Trust Administration

There are five basic steps when it comes to trust administration. First, before the administration can begin, an inventory of assets must be completed. Although this sounds simple, it can be a daunting task, especially if the size and complexity of the decedent’s assets. Once the assets have been inventoried, the amount of taxes will be determined and will be filed with the IRS and the state of Tennessee. It is then when the trust assets will be divided, and the beneficiaries will be distributed according to the wishes of the decedent.

It is the responsibility of the executor, trustees, and/or administrator to submit important documents such as tax returns. If not, the administrator could have breached its fiduciary duty.

When You Need a Trust Lawyer

There are some common scenarios under which a trustee may need legal counsel. At times, a trust’s terms may conflict with themselves.  In these cases, a trustee may need to file a petition to modify or terminate the trust.  In other circumstances, a trustee may need to enter into a transaction or sale of trust property.  In these cases, it is important to avoid any conflict of interest that could arise between the trustee’s personal interests and those of the beneficiaries.  It may be necessary to get court approval or beneficiary consent before entering into such transactions.

There are other administrative actions that must be taken with regard to trusts.  Tennessee laws require that adequate records must be kept and that trust property must be kept separate.  Moreover, costs related to maintaining and administering the trust must be reasonable.  Legal professionals can advise on whether these requirements are being met.

How Our Nashville Estate Attorneys Can Help

For decades, the estate lawyers of Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC have helped people across Middle Tennessee prepare a trust. We have helped our clients not only select the best person to administer the trust but have stepped in as trustees. We know the complex issues surrounding building a secure trust and will do everything we can to make sure everything runs smoothly.

If you are considering creating a trust and need help with the administration of that trust, don’t delay. Contact Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC now for more information.