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Category Archives: Trust Administration

Professional Fees, Costs, & Reimbursement of Expenses

A common and very reasonable question to ask in any estate and/or trust administration is “How much will this cost?” There will likely be a number of professionals involved in the estate/trust administration, including attorneys, accountants, and financial advisors. It is not uncommon to have a real property appraiser required to determine the value of […]

Challenges to a Will or Trust

From time to time, the personal representative, trustee, or one of the beneficiaries expresses concern that the will or revocable trust will be challenged. This is not a common occurrence, as it happens infrequently, but can be serious when a challenge does arise. Since a will or trust cannot be challenged until the person who […]

IRAs, 401(k)s, Pensions, and Profit Sharing Plans

On its face, you would think that “Retirement Accounts” such as IRAs, 401(k)s, pensions, and profit sharing plans would be the easiest part of a loved one’s estate to administer. The beneficiary should just make a claim, a withdrawal, or roll over the account, right? Actually, a lot of thought should go into the choices […]

Life Insurance and Annuities

Life insurance and annuities are examples of assets that may fall outside of the estate and trust administration. This is due to the fact that these assets are generally distributed pursuant to a designation of beneficiary document. Life insurance is typically owned by the decedent, but may be owned by the decedent’s spouse, children, or […]

Continuing Trusts for Beneficiaries— Children, Grandchildren, and Others

While many trusts distribute assets outright to other beneficiaries such as children and grandchildren, others direct for a distribution into a continuing testamentary trust for the benefit of children, grandchildren, and other beneficiaries. Oftentimes, these distributions don’t occur until the surviving spouse is deceased and the marital trust distributes out to the children/grandchildren, but in […]

Continuing Trusts for Beneficiaries—Spouse

Once the creditors have been taken care of and tax returns filed, it’s time to move out of the administrative phase and start distributing assets.  When there is a surviving spouse, the trust will often continue for his or her benefit. These after death trusts are known as “testamentary trusts.” When there is a testamentary […]

Working with the CPA/Tax Return Preparer

When I take on a new estate-planning client, I have them complete a client organizer that, among other things, asks him or her to rate concerns from high to low. Estate taxes commonly rate high, even when the client’s assets are nowhere near the federal estate tax threshold. Why is that? Do people assume that […]

Bank Accounts

When opening a probate estate or trust administration, the personal representative/trustee needs to open an estate checking account or a trust checking account, respectively. This account will receive the income earned and pay all the expenses incurred during the administration. Running all of the income and expenses through one checking account will make it simpler […]

Working with a Financial Advisor

I mentioned earlier that the personal representative of a probate estate and the trustee of a trust have a duty to protect and preserve the assets during the estate administration, as well as following the “prudent investor rule.” So what does this really mean? Should the personal representative/trustee invest all of the money in the […]