LA GRASSO | ABDO | SILVERI
Oakland and Macomb Trust Administration Lawyer
It can be difficult to navigate the many emotional and legal challenges that arise when a loved one passes. If your loved one created a living trust, then some of the work ahead of you has already been done.
When the creator of a living trust, sometimes referred to as the Settlor, dies, the first step is to identify who the Settlor named as Successor Trustee of the trust. When the Successor Trustee is identified, and when he or she has formally accepted to take on the duties of trustee, the Successor Trustee is immediately held to several responsibilities. They oversee administering the Trust in accordance with Michigan law, the terms of the Trust, and good faith. They are responsible for identifying Trust assets, receiving payments for the Trust, setting up a bank account for the trust, giving legal notice to creditors, settling debt, and more.
The trustee is not entitled to any trust assets, other than a reasonable compensation for time spent on trust duties and reimbursement for reasonable trust expenses paid out of pocket. However, if a trustee is also a named beneficiary, then he or she is entitled to receive the distribution specified in the trust, just as if he or she was any other beneficiary.
Trust beneficiaries are the people, groups, or charities for which the Trust was initially created. The Successor Trustee must keep them informed on matters pertaining to trust administration and provide them with a copy of the Trust upon request, as well as annual accountings, and notification if the Successor Trustee is also a recipient of any compensation.
Legal counsel is highly recommended for Successor Trustees who have never undergone the process before, as the required duties can be complicated and there are many deadlines to which the personal representative must adhere.