On September 20, 2015

If you have questions about administering trusts, we have answers. Check out these FAQs or contact our Denver estate & trust attorney today.

If you have questions about administering trusts, we have answers. Check out these FAQs or contact our Denver estate & trust attorney today.

While administering a trust can be an honor, it’s also an important responsibility for the people who choose to accept the role of trustee. That’s because trustees agree to be impartial in this position, advancing the interests of the trust and beneficiaries regardless of their own interests.

While this may seem like a daunting role to assume, however, understanding what is expected and your role as a fiduciary can be pivotal to successfully administering a trust.

This is also important for beneficiaries to know, as they should be aware of what duties trustees owe them so that they know when to ask questions or take further actions to hold trustees responsible for flouting their duties.

Answers about Administering Trusts

Q – When does the trust administration process start?

A – It will depend on the type of trust developed, as well as the specific terms of the trust. For instance, while revocable living trusts can start at any point (once they have been authorized), irrevocable living trusts will usually only come into existence following a death.

In any case, however, when the trust officially forms is when the trust administration process will usually start, and this information should be clearly detailed in the trust documents.

Q – Who administers trusts?

A – The trustee, who will generally be a personal named in the will or other trust documents. If the individual named in these trust documents, however, does not or cannot serve in this role for whatever reason the court will typically appoint someone to serve in this role (if there is not a backup trustee – or a few alternatives – named in the trust documents).

Q – What does trust administration involve?

A – Basically, administering a trust means that you are carrying out the terms of that trust. While the specific tasks you need to complete (or make sure get completed) can vary according to the nature of the trust, commonly, the work of trust administration involves:

  • Prudently handling all income to/investments for the trust
  • Paying all of the trust’s expenses (with the trust funds)
  • Keeping detailed accounting records for the trust
  • Administering the assets of the trust according to its terms
  • Dissolving the trust once its business has been concluded.

Q – Can trustees get help administering trusts?

A –Generally, yes – they are permitted to hire lawyers, accountants and other professionals to help them appropriately administer a trust, and the trust will cover the costs of this professional help.

Given that trustees are fiduciaries, they can be held personally responsible – and can even be sued – if they fail to appropriately administer a trust and these failures result in losses to the beneficiaries. So, retaining an attorney is a wise move to for trustees when they want to ensure they are properly administering a trust and minimizing their liability while doing so.

Q – Should beneficiaries have lawyers also?

A –Yes, if they want to ensure their rights and interests are protected throughout the trust administration process, it’s crucial that they also hire a lawyer.

Contact a Denver Estate & Trust Attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC

For experienced help administering a trust, developing an estate plan and/or getting through probate, contact a seasoned Denver estate & trust attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC.

To schedule an initial consultation with us and learn more about how we can assist you, call us at (303) 741-2400 or email us using the contact form at the top of this page.

From our offices in Denver, we serve clients throughout the southwest and southeast Metro Area, including (but not limited to) people in Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Castle Rock, Parker, Aurora, Greenwood Village and Englewood.

Categories: Trust Administration