Practice areas:

Trust Review, Amendment & Restatement

Setting up your Trust and never looking at it again can sometimes be worse than not having a trust at all. It is the wise and responsible thing to do, to periodically review the terms of the trust, and to ensure they remain current and relevant, and match the ever-changing family dynamic. If this periodic review does not take place, the beneficiaries end up with unrealistic expectations, and the Trust may be facing bitter and prolonged litigation that drains its assets.

A Trust should be taken out and looked over at least once every five to seven years, to ensure it is in line with both current law, and your changing circumstances, including size of your assets, age of your children, and specific needs of your family. Change of circumstances such as divorce, marriage, second marriage, birth of a child, moving to another state, death of your named fiduciaries, mandates updating your trust.  A Trust is updated by way of a Trust Amendment or a complete Restatement of its terms.

When one or both of the initial trust creators (the Settlors) die, the Surviving Spouse, or – if both spouses are gone- the named Successor Trustee steps in, and takes over the management and control of the trust property, collecting  receivables, dealing with creditors, paying taxes, and ultimately – making distributions to named beneficiaries as provided in the terms of the Trust. This is not an intuitive process, and involves important legal and tax considerations and deadlines.

It is the Trustee’s duty to ensure that the rights of the Trust beneficiaries are adequately protected. The Trustee is responsible for maintaining the trust property income-producing, and giving information and Trust Accounting to the beneficiaries. We work closely with the Trustee and the Trust’s CPA in regard to taking control of the trust assets, and marshaling those assets to the trust beneficiaries, rendering requisite accounting, filing personal and trust income tax returns (or in some cases – estate tax returns to claim a Portability election) – through final distribution to the Beneficiaries, and the Trustee’s release from liability as such. Portability Election, Federal Estate Taxes, Asset Valuations, Sub-Trust funding, and preserving the Property Tax Reassessment Exclusion, are the issues that Trustees generally grapple with at this stage.

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