Troubleshooting Legal Problems

What Is Trust Administration (And Who Is Responsible For It)?

Some people opt to pass assets down to beneficiaries through the use of a trust. This is an arrangement that enables the assets to bypass the probate process. A trust can be set up based on specific wishes from the creator.

When a person creates a trust, the assets within it are handled by a trustee. This person must manage the assets in accordance with the terms of the trust. The trustee has a fiduciary duty that they must comply with.

What does it mean to administer a trust?

One of the duties of the trustee is to protect the assets that are held within the trust. They can’t do anything self-serving with the contents of the trust, but must make decisions based on the wishes of the trust’s creator. Trusts have specific uses, so the trustee might ensure that the trust is used for the intended purpose.

While the trust’s creator names the primary trustee, it might not be that trustee who handles the trust. If the primary trustee passes away, the successor trustee would take care of the trust. This person is held to the same standards as the primary trustee, so the beneficiaries of the trust should still receive the exact same thing regardless.

Anyone who’s working with an estate should ensure they understand what responsibilities they have so they can handle them. It’s often beneficial to work with someone who knows this area of the law so you can be sure that you’re doing what’s necessary. Any missteps with trust administration could be costly for the beneficiaries of the trust.