What Happens to a Trust After Death?
Legal documents such as wills and trusts exist to help people protect their estates and provide for their families after they are gone. When you create and fund a trust, you are taking extra measures to keep your estate out of the probate system and, in the case of an irrevocable trust, potentially help your family save on estate taxes. It is important to note that, unlike a will, a trust will likely not become public after your death.
During creation of a trust, you will name an trustee to handle the management of your estate and the distribution of your assets after you pass away. The trustee must be ready to step in after death to handle a number of responsibilities including:
- Notifications: the trustee will notify beneficiaries, government entities and other organizations of the person’s death. This includes Social Security Administration, the Department of Health, Veterans Affairs, life/health insurance companies, mortgage companies, banks, credit card companies, etc.
- Management: the trustee will need to assess and value the trust estate, pay outstanding debts/bills, report gains and losses, file taxes, etc.
- Distribution: the trustee will be responsible for making sure the assets are distributed to the beneficiaries as outlined in the trust.
In some cases, the distribution of assets to certain individuals may be spread out over time. For example, if you have minor children, you may wish to have the children receive part of their inheritance when they reach age 21, another portion at age 25 and the remainder at age 30. This is to protect them from using their full inheritance irresponsibly at a young age. The trustee will handle the ongoing administration and distribution of these assets to the children.
The trust may also include provisions to help pay for future expenses, such as college tuition, for specific beneficiaries.
Handling the trust administration can be complicated, time-consuming and quite difficult for someone who is not trained in the intricacies of the law. If you are faced with this responsibility and feel overwhelmed, it may be beneficial to hire a Denver trust attorney to guide you through the process or even handle the tasks for you. In most cases, the reasonable attorneys’ fees are paid for by the trust. The main goals should be to handle the trust administration honorably, efficiently and accurately.
The Denver estate lawyers at The Brown Law Firm, LLC can help. Whether you need to create a trust or need help with trust administration in Denver, they have the experience to help you understand your options and responsibilities. Call (303) 339-3750 or send us a message online.