How to Administer the Trust After Someone Has Died

Jul 06, 2015

Most believe that once they create a living trust and fund it with their assets, they are done and have nothing more to do. For the most part, this is true. The “decedent” or person that passed away has nothing more to do after creating and funding the trust. However, following their death, the person they have appointed as “trustee” (or person in charge of the trust) must administer the trust.

 What does “administer the trust” mean?

Well, to administer the trust means following the instructions set out by the deceased loved one.

Normally, within a few months of a loved one’s death, the trustee will begin the process. The trustee will do things such as collecting all of the loved ones estate planning materials, information, bills, and important documents.  We like to call this process the information gathering and organizing phase.

  • get death certificates ( The company that you use to make funeral arrangements will usually order death certificates for you. Be sure to order 5 to 10 copies of the death certificate)
  • notify the Social Security Administration of the death. (If you need to notify Social Security, just pick up the phone and call 800-772-1213)
  • notify the state Department of Health
  • identify the trust beneficiaries
  • collecting information on all trust property
  • protect trust property
  • set up a record-keeping system

Once a trustee has all the information necessary, they will hire an attorney to help them administer the trust. It is important to note that you should select a trustee who is a responsible and organized individual. Everything else that requires expertise can be done by hiring financial advisors, attorneys and CPAs, if necessary.

Tasks of the Trustee

While they administer the trust, the attorney will help the trustee complete certain tasks. These tasks include giving notice to all the beneficiaries and heirs at law, lodging a deceased loved ones Will with the court clerk in the county in which they have passed, notifying certain government agencies of the death, locating beneficiaries, review trust investments, inventorying trust assets, protecting trust assets, planning how to fund sub-trusts.

While they administer the trust, he attorney and the trustee will map out a plan to execute the loved one’s wishes. By the end of the process, the attorney will help the trustee by transferring property into the trustee’s name,  obtaining a Taxpayer Identification Number, funding sub-trusts (if necessary), having various assets appraised, transferring ownership of real property and other assets, and distributing trust property to various beneficiaries.
The trustee during the time that he is to administer the trust will be tasked with the job of making sure the loved one’s wishes that are on paper are put into effect in real life. With our help, you can administer the trust easily and with no headaches.

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