The Florida trust attorneys at Stross Law Firm, P.A. have more than 35 years of experience handling trusts and estates.
If you need help administering the trust of a deceased loved one, our attorneys have the experience to make the process as painless and efficient as possible. We’ve helped many successor trustees to:
- Gather and document assets in a trust
- Ensure estate taxes are properly calculated and paid
- Identify and pay legitimate creditors
- Understand the terms of trusts and ensure they are carried out correctly
- Identify and contact beneficiaries and ensure assets are distributed to them according to the trust’s terms
- Keep trust-held assets out of probate per Florida probate rules
Trust administration can be complex, and most successor trustees do not have the time, understanding and means to administer a trust on their own. When the trust was created by a recently deceased loved one, administering a trust can also carry an emotional burden. The Florida trust attorneys at Stross Law Firm, P.A. can help alleviate these concerns and make trust administration a smooth and relatively painless process.
What is Trust Administration?
Trust administration is the process of overseeing the assets held by a trust and making sure they are distributed or used as the trust’s creator wished, which are delineated in the terms of the trust.
Trust administration includes:
- identifying all the assets included within the trust
- contacting beneficiaries
- paying estate taxes and legitimate creditors
- distributing assets to beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust.
In one sense, trust administration is similar to probating assets in a will. However, Florida probate rules don’t apply to properly structured trusts, and estates containing trusts should not be filed with the probate court until a Florida trust attorney has reviewed the estate and ensured that any trust-held assets do not go to probate.
Sometimes not all the assets are distributed to beneficiaries. It is not uncommon for assets to remain in a trust and limits placed on beneficiaries’ access or use of the assets. For example, the use of assets left to minor children may be restricted until they reach age 21 to avoid abuse of the assets. In these cases, trust administration also includes making sure use or investment of the assets conforms to the trust’s terms over time.
Obligations of a Trust Administrator
In Florida, a trust attorney or other trust administrator has the following obligations, to name but a few of the actions they are responsible to perform and complete:
- Be intimately familiar with terms of the trust
- Strictly abide by the terms of the trust
- Act fairly and equally toward all beneficiaries unless the trust terms favor a beneficiary
- Actively participate and exercise independent judgment in decision making
- Vigorously protect assets of the trust against fraud, embezzlement and other abuse
- Maintain accurate records of all transactions involving trust funds
- Provide accurate reports to beneficiaries upon request and prepare an annual report of all activity involving trust assets
- When investing assets, exercise as much care as he/she would with their own assets
- File and pay federal and state estate taxes on time and correctly
- If delegating any tasks, choose competent delegates, maintain adequate communication with them, and personally make any decision outside the authority of the delegates
Many people find these obligations difficult to abide by because of their schedules, other commitments and lack of experience in handling trusts. It is common for successor trustees to hire a Florida trust attorney, law firm, bank or other qualified individual or organization to act as trust administrator.
At Stross Law Firm, P.A., our attorneys have a 35-year track record for administering trusts faithfully and accurately. Contact us today to see how we can help with administering a trust you are responsible for. Call us directly at 813-852-6500 or call toll-free at 866-815-0081.
More About Florida Trust Attorneys at Stross Law Firm, P.A.
To find out more about trusts and estates and how the Florida trust attorneys at Stross Law Firm, P.A. can assist you in administering the trust of a loved one, please visit these website pages:
If you have additional questions about Florida probate rules or trust laws, please contact the Florida trust attorneys at Stross Law Firm, P.A. via the Contact Us page. You can also call us directly at 813-852-6500 or call toll-free at 866-815-0081.