Practice areas:

Trust Review and Trust Administration

A trustee is accountable to the trust beneficiaries, and must fulfill many important responsibilities in a timely manner. Trust beneficiaries have many rights against a Trustee who does not fulfill the duties the law imposes on him or her.


Trust Review, Amendment and Restatement

Setting up your Trust and never looking at it again can sometimes be worse than not having a trust at all. It is wise and the responsible thing to do, to periodically review the terms of the trust, and to ensure they remain current and relevant, to 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 years, to ensure it is in line with both current law, and your changed circumstances, including size of your assets 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.

First-to-die and Second-to-die Administration

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 administration of the Trust, including management and control over the trust property, collecting  receivables, dealing with creditors, paying taxes, and ultimately – distributions to named beneficiaries as provided in the terms of the Trust, including rendering Accounting. This is not an intuitive process, and involves important legal and tax considerations and deadlines. We follow a comprehensive checklist to ensure all duties which the law expects of  the Trustee are fulfilled, and the rights of the Trust beneficiaries are adequately protected. 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, Asset Valuations, Sub-Trust funding, and preserving Property Tax Reassessment Exclusion, are the issues that Trustees generally grapple with at this stage.


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