Being a trust administrator involves a great deal of responsibility. If you have never served in this role before, you might be intimidated and overwhelmed by the process.
Read the trust document carefully
Florida’s trust administration process involves several steps. The first step is to gather all documents of the decedent, or the person who passed away.
These documents are different in every case. Common documents include the trust documents themselves, the will or a power of attorney.
Review the trust document, identify any beneficiaries and learn how the decedent wanted the trust to be distributed. Write down the beneficiaries’ contact information and keep it handy.
The next step is filing any required documents with the court, such as the death certificate, notice of trust and original will.
Courts typically have various requirements when filing documents, and if you miss one, you will be required to re-file.
Therefore, it can be helpful to work with an attorney once you get to this point. If you are the successor trustee, you will need a document showing this to provide to third parties. They will not give you any information before receiving proof of your status as successor trustee.
Providing proper notice that you are the successor trustee comes next. In addition to the beneficiaries, you should provide this notice to places like the decedent’s employer, insurance companies, utility companies, Social Security Administration and the local post office.
Assets and debts are the next things to be addressed. Identify and locate all the decedent’s assets and prepare an inventory. Change the trustee’s name to yours on any of the decedent’s accounts. Do the same with debts.
Administering the trust
At this point, you can begin to administer the trust. This includes collecting income, preserving the assets and managing and insuring real estate or other property.
The last step is distributing the state. This cannot be done until the estate’s debts and administration expenses are paid.
Additional steps might include filing a final tax return on behalf of the decedent or complying with any specific trust requirements.
Keeping records of everything you do is extremely important. Trust administration can be complex and involve a lot of paperwork, so having guidance along the way can make a huge difference.