Settlement is that phase of estate planning where the “rubber meets the road.” It is the time when your plan is being put into effect because you have become disabled or passed away. If you have a well-designed, fully implemented and funded, and regularly maintained plan, then most of the necessary work for a successful settlement has already been done.
Contrary to popular belief, however, there is still work to be done when settling a trust based estate plan. This work includes
- registering the trust with the IRS (if it is now irrevocable)
- inventorying the trust assets
- obtaining date-of-death values of trust assets
- determining whether assets outside the trust need to be administered through a probate proceeding and opening a probate estate, if necessary
- notifying potential creditors of the decedent of the right to make a claim against the trust
- evaluating creditor claims after the expiration of the non-claims period and paying legitimate creditors’ claims
- filing income tax returns (and estate tax returns, if needed) for the decedent and for the trust
- transferring assets at the time and in the manner dictated by the trust and pursuant to legal requirements, potentially including the creation of sub-trusts for beneficiaries
- creating the trust accounting and getting beneficiary approval of it
- distributing the remaining trust assets to the beneficiaries or their trust shares
Regardless of whether your loved one has planned with us or not, we are available to help you with the administration and settlement of your loved one’s Trust.
To get started with a Trust Administration, make an appointment with us today. To get a head start on the settlement process, help us help you by completing our Trust & Estate Settlement Worksheet.