Trust Administration Lawyers in Massachusetts
Have you been named trustee of a loved one’s trust? You have a long to-do list to work through: The Massachusetts trust administration process is complicated.
You shouldn’t go through this alone. At Casey Lundregan Burns, P.C., we can guide you at every turn. Call (978) 878-3519 to speak with an experienced trust administration lawyer from our team.
The Role of Trusts in Estate Planning
A trust is a legal entity that holds property like real estate or money for the benefit of one or several parties (“beneficiaries”). The person who sets up the trust and transfers ownership of their assets to the trust is called a grantor or settlor, and the person who manages the trust is called a trustee.
You can create a trust and appoint yourself as trustee and sole beneficiary. Alternatively, you can name your family members as beneficiaries. When you pass away or can no longer manage the trust due to illness or old age, a successor trustee will take over and manage the assets for you.
Trusts play an important role in estate planning. Assets held in trusts avoid probate, a public and potentially costly and time-consuming procedure in which a probate court distributes your assets after your death. While trust assets must still go through trust administration, this process is usually quicker and less expensive than probate. Trusts may also reduce or eliminate estate taxes and protect assets from creditors.
The Trustee’s Duties
If you are the trustee of a loved one’s trust, you have important responsibilities to fulfill. Trustees owe a special set of fiduciary duties to the trust and its beneficiaries. In addition to managing the trust during the grantor’s lifetime, you must take over trust administration after their death. During this process, you must complete the following tasks:
- File an affidavit regarding the grantor’s death
- Notify the beneficiaries, legal heirs, and banks and other financial institutions
- Open a trust bank account
- Appraise all trust assets at their market values
- Pay death tax and final income taxes
- Transfer or sell trust assets to pay tax liability and other debts
- Determine the beneficiary status of the decedent’s retirement accounts
- Distribute assets to beneficiaries according to the trust terms
These are just some of your many responsibilities as a trustee. Even if you have experience managing trusts, taking care of everything can be challenging after a loved one’s death. An experienced trust administration lawyer can support you in this process.
Why Hire a Trust Administration Lawyer in Massachusetts?
A trust administration attorney can help you by:
- Explaining how different trust types, such as irrevocable trusts or revocable living trusts, work
- Reviewing the trust documentation and helping you understand your legal duties
- Ensuring trust administration complies with Massachusetts laws
- Filing all necessary documents like tax returns and trust accounts
- Identifying, retitling, and distributing beneficiaries’ assets
- Resolving disputes in cases of contested trusts
Contact an Experienced Massachusetts Trust Administration Lawyer
At Casey Lundregan Burns, P.C., we have been helping trustees in Salem, MA, and throughout Massachusetts for over 90 years. Call (978) 878-3519 to schedule a consultation with an experienced trust administration lawyer.