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Your Valued Partners For Trust Administration

Trust administration is a big job, particularly for larger, more complex trusts. Trustees – that is, the person or people responsible for administering the trust – have important duties under Michigan law. As fiduciaries, they must manage the trust for the sole benefit of the beneficiaries. They must do so with competence and prudence, and they must avoid any conflicts of interest.

Adhering to these duties and properly fulfilling the terms of the trust can be challenging. At DeMent & Marquardt, PLC, our attorneys serve as experienced advisers and representatives for trustees, delivering valuable guidance on all aspects of the process. Our estate lawyers have many decades of experience handling trust and estate matters in Michigan. Based in Kalamazoo, they have built strong reputations for their skills and success in this area.

Basics Of The Trust Administration Process

As a component of estate administration, the trust administration process is similar in many ways to the probate process. However, it doesn’t take place in court and it isn’t a matter of public record.

Administering the trust involves:

  • Managing trust assets in a prudent manner
  • Providing regular accountings to beneficiaries
  • Filing appropriate tax returns and fulfilling tax obligations
  • Distributing assets in accordance with the terms of the trusts

There are many other steps that may need to be addressed, depending on the estate and the terms of the trust. Our attorneys can assist with all aspects of the process.

They also help clients establish trusts for estate planning and other purposes, including Medicaid planning.

Frequently Asked Questions About Trust Administration

It is a significant honor to be named a trustee – but it can also be an overwhelming responsibility. Concerns and questions like the following are common:

How can a trust administration attorney help a trustee?

A trust administration attorney can help you:

  • Understand your fiduciary and legal responsibilities
  • Navigate any complex provisions in the trust
  • Assist with preparing and maintaining important documentation, such as inventories, accounting reports and communications with beneficiaries
  • Comply with federal and state tax obligations and regulations regarding trusts
  • Provide strategies for minimizing taxes related to the trusts’ income and distributions
  • Manage communication and disputes with beneficiaries to avoid litigation

Finally, of course, a trust administration lawyer can provide representation if a dispute escalates and litigation becomes inevitable.

What are the benefits of using an attorney to administer a trust?

Trust administration is legally and financially complicated, and it involves everything from asset management to tax compliance, legal procedures and communications with beneficiaries. It can be time-consuming and stressful. Using an attorney to administer the trust can take a tremendous burden off your shoulders and protect you against serious mistakes and complications.

What types of mistakes can a trust administration attorney prevent a trustee from making?

Common errors in trust administration include:

  • Failing to follow the terms of the trust when making distributions
  • Failing to pay taxes or other debts owed by the trust and incurring fines
  • Creating or overlooking a conflict of interest that causes trust losses
  • Making poor investments or risky decisions that deplete the trust’s assets

If you make a mistake administering a trust, you can be held liable for any losses suffered by the beneficiaries, the trust or third parties.

As a trustee, how do I know if I need a trust administration attorney?

Generally speaking, you should consider a trust administration attorney’s services any time you feel that the administrative tasks of managing a trust are too complicated or whenever you lack the time or ability to manage them efficiently.

Reach Out To Our Team

For guidance on any aspect of trust administration or formation, please don’t hesitate to contact us. You can also reach us by phone at 269-343-2106.