Trusts are a valuable tool for anyone creating an estate plan. Unlike wills, trusts do not have to go through probate, allowing beneficiaries to receive their part of the estate much sooner. Too many people think that once a trust is created, that is the end of the process. But trusts have to be administered, and that requires oversight. Anyone who wants to create a trust, or needs to administer one, should know the steps involved. If you need to create or administer a trust, a trust administration attorney from Beth Santilli Law can help.
The first step in administering a trust involves taking an inventory of the assets within the trust. This step sometimes involves an investigation and will likely require an appraisal of certain assets. An appraisal is important because the net worth of the decedent will determine if there is a federal estate tax liability. After an investigation and appraisal has been conducted, trustees should then document the findings by creating an inventory, which is then shared with the beneficiaries of the trust.
A trustee has many duties, one of which is paying estate and trust income taxes when necessary. It is essential that trustees understand the tax issues associated with the trust. A failure to comply with tax law can dramatically increase the tax obligations of the trust or the estate.
A trust involves a lot of documentation, and trustees must deal with it appropriately while administering the trust. When the decedent has left behind a will, the trustee must also file it with the probate court within the county the decedent resided. The trustee must submit the will to the court within thirty (30) days of the decedent’s death.
Duties of the Trustee
Trustees have many duties associated with the trust. A trustee who does not fulfill their duties may be removed as a trustee, or worse, they may have to repay the trust for any losses incurred as a result. A few of the duties a trustee must fulfill include:
– Administer the trust according to its terms and instructions
– Understand and comply with trust laws in South Carolina
– Work in the best interests of the beneficiaries at all times
– Use detailed records to provide beneficiaries with accurate accountings
Just as trustees have many obligations to fulfill, there are also certain actions they should never take. Trustees cannot commingle personal property with trust assets, for instance, or use the assets within the trust for personal gain.
Get Legal Help Today
Administering a trust is a complicated matter. At Beth Santilli Law, LLC, our Mt. Pleasant, SC trust administration attorneys can assist with setting up a trust and ensuring it is administered properly to protect you and your family. Contact us today to schedule a meeting with our knowledgeable attorneys.