Creating a trust is one way to ensure that your property, money and other assets will end up in the hands of the people you want to receive them. As part of the trust, it is recommended that you name a specific person, a trustee, to handle the duties of estate settlement after you pass away. The trustee should be someone you feel confident will be honest, organized and able to allocate the appropriate amount of time and energy for the many duties that surround this responsibility.
Because a trust does not go through probate in the court system, it will be up to the trustee to ensure that the trust settlement process gets underway in a timely manner. While a lawyer might not be required to help with these steps, it can be very beneficial to have a professional help identify all of the necessary steps, file the appropriate paperwork with the courts and even take over some of the responsibilities.
Steps of Trust Settlement
- Locate the trust and make sure you understand the document.
- Communicate with the surviving family members and inform them of your role.
- Obtain a copy of the death certificate.
- Notify interested parties of the death such as banks, social security, retirement plans, insurance plans, etc.
- Audit the trust and compile a list of assets and attach monetary values to each item. Appraisals may be necessary.
- Establish a tax identification number for the trust.
- Pay all outstanding debts and incoming bills using money in the trust.
- Manage all incoming money and assets and maintain a bank account for the trust.
- Keep detailed records of all money moving in and out of the trust.
- Distribute the assets as specified in the trust.
The role of trustee in trust settlement is quite extensive. If you have been named a trustee and are unsure what to do, feel completely overwhelmed with your responsibilities, don’t have time to allocate to the process or don’t feel comfortable with the role, the Denver trust administration lawyers at Brown & Crona, LLC can help. Whether you simply want assistance in identifying the steps to take or need a team to help you get things done, we can provide the help needed to get your estate settlement finished quicker and more efficiently.