Living trusts are a popular vehicle for managing assets during one's lifetime and distributing those assets to beneficiaries and bypassing probate upon one's death. Trust documents contain directions for the investment, management and distribution of trust assets.
Typically, during the client's lifetime, the client serves as his or her own trustee, and retains full flexibility and control over the investment, management and distribution of the trust assets. However, if the client becomes incapacitated or dies, one or more successor trustees assume responsibility for carrying out the terms of the trust. Often, this responsibility falls on a family member who is already dealing with the stress of the person's incapacity or the grief of his or her loss. Heritier, Nance & Smothers, P.C. assists successor trustees and families to navigate the process of trust administration.
What is Trust Administration?
Trust administration involves investing, managing and distributing trust income and assets in accordance with the terms of the trust and the Michigan Trust Code. When the client dies, the successor trustee(s) named in the trust takes over these duties for the benefit of named beneficiaries. Successor trustees are fiduciaries under Michigan law, and can have personal liability to beneficiaries, creditors and taxing authorities for failure to carry out their duties appropriately. For this and many other reasons, we recommend that successor trustees obtain experienced legal counsel to assist them in discharging their trust-related duties, including:
- Notices to beneficiaries
- Establishing and funding sub-trusts
- Requirements of the Michigan Prudent Investor Rule
- Trust accountings
- Trust distributions
- Tax filings and payments
- Dealings with creditors
Heritier Nance & Smothers, P.C. has extensive experience in advising and counseling successor trustees in fulfilling their fiduciary duties and in properly and efficiently administering trusts. Provided we are not representing the trustee(s) in administering a trust, we can also assist a beneficiary or creditor of a trust, to make sure that their rights are fully protected and that they receive all they are entitled to in the trust administration process.
Troy, Michigan Trust Administration Attorneys
Located in Troy, Michigan since 1985, Heritier Nance & Smothers, P.C. has helped generations of families safeguard and manage their assets through trust planning and administration. We understand that whether our clients have significant wealth or more modest assets, their primary goal is to protect and provide for loved ones. We are committed to helping achieve that goal.
If you have questions or concerns regarding trust administration services, we invite you to call us at (248) 828-4020 or contact Heritier Nance & Smothers, P.C. online to schedule a consultation. We look forward to working with you.