Christopher S. Nudo
What Are the Steps Involved in Trust Administration?
Trust administration varies in complexity based on the complexity of the estate. For estates with a net worth between $750,000 and about $3.5 million, trust administration tends to be rather simple. The process begins by reviewing the trust itself and determining whether sub-trusts should be created for minor children, whether a business needs to be sold, and what assets comprise the trust (e.g. cash accounts, real estate, rental real estate, income-producing assets). If a church or charity is named in a trust, then the Illinois Attorney General will have to be put on notice that a gift will be going to that church or charity.
Next, the successor trustees of the trust (who are typically the children) will need to be informed of what they need to do, how they need to do it, which parts of the process they can handle on their own, and which parts of the process require the assistance of the attorney. Most of the clients I work with require very little of our law firm’s time in the trust administration process. They might need some guidance in the beginning, but do very well on their own.
Illinois recently adopted the Illinois Trust Act, which was initially derived from the Uniform Trust Code in the United States. This act provides very strict notice requirements to all beneficiaries and other parties involved. This is one of the key elements for which our law firm provides assistance. For example, we often help send out the necessary disclosure information to the beneficiaries under the trust.
The successor trustees will then gather the assets and determine who and what needs to be paid, such as the funeral home, hospital bills, and any other debts. The pour-over will needs to be filed in the county but typically does not need to be probated. Since a revocable trust becomes irrevocable at the time of the grantor’s death, an EIN will need to be obtained from the IRS in order to permit us to file taxes on behalf of the trust. Then the assets (in accordance with the terms of the trust), need to be distributed to the trust beneficiaries. Typically, a trust will be fully administered in under a year.