Trust and Estate Administration Process

Since we handle estate and trust administration on a daily basis, one of our goals is to make this process as efficient and proactive for our clients as possible. While a large portion of our clients come from our own estate planning practice, we regularly handle the trust and estate administration for new clients for whom we did not provide the original planning. In trust administration, where we are involved on the planning side, the goal is always to efficiently plan for the transfer of property to one’s beneficiaries and avoid probate, if possible.

Part of our process is to collect asset information from tax returns, inventory the assets, obtain date of death values of assets from financial advisors or appraisals and then consolidate liquid assets and investments into one or two accounts. The most common issue we  see when trust planning is involved is an unfunded trust, meaning that the decedent’s assets were not transferred into trust name during the decedent’s lifetime.

For estates, we will generally ask for:

  • Personal information for the person who has passed
  • An original death certificate
  • Financial records, statements and tax returns; and valuations of assets as of the date of death
  • Personal information for the spouse and/or children of the deceased and other beneficiaries

For trusts, we will generally ask for:

  • Personal information for both the trustee and beneficiaries
  • The reason the trust is being established
  • Financial records and statements
  • The related legal case and court approved settlement, if applicable

Our firm has regular, internal meetings to review the status of all trusts and estates. Timelines and calendars vary depending upon the complexity of the estate or trust and the values involved.