Bend Trust Administration Lawyers
Helping Successor Trustees Administer Trusts
A trust is a legal instrument allowing a person to manage their assets during their lifetime and after their death. The provisions in a trust contain specific instructions on how property is to be distributed to beneficiaries upon the settlor's (the person who created the trust) passing. Typically, the settlor will name a successor trustee. The successor trustee is the individual who ensures that the deceased's wishes are carried out according to the terms of their trust. Administering a trust can be extremely complex and often requires legal help to facilitate a smooth and efficient process.
If you have been named a successor trustee, reach out to our Bend trust administration attorneys at Baxter Harder, LLC. The successor trustee is subject to several fiduciary duties and obligations under Oregon law, and we can help you understand your role and the tasks you are required to fulfill. Our team will provide the guidance you need to properly administer the trust in a prudent manner and act in the best interests of the beneficiaries. We can assist with making the required notifications, settling debts and taxes, and distributing assets according to the decedent's wishes.
What's the Difference Between a Trustee and a Trustor?
Under Oregon's Unified Trust Code, the person who creates a trust or contributes property to it is called the settlor (also referred to as a trustor). Generally, they maintain control of the trust while they are living.
During the creation of the trust, the settlor will name someone to take over management of it should they become incapacitated or pass away. This individual is the successor trustee but may be called the trustee when they become responsible for administering the trust assets.
What Are the Duties and Powers of a Trustee?
After the settlor's passing, the successor trustee becomes responsible for managing and administering the trust. The trustee must act according to the decedent's wishes – as they are outlined in the trust document – and with Oregon's trust laws.
The powers and duties of a trustee depend on the situation.
Some of the trustee's tasks include, but are not limited to:
- Managing the trust in the interests of the beneficiaries
- Informing beneficiaries of trust administration
- Collecting and cataloging trust assets
- Paying creditors
- Paying debts and taxes
- Creating education trusts or trusts for minor children
- Creating trusts to shelter assets, allowing them to pass tax-free
As the trustee carries out their duties, they must keep accurate records of all income received by the trust, all expenses made by the trust, and any other transactions engaged in throughout the trust administration process. They may also be required to be involved in mediation, arbitration, or other proceedings to resolve disputes that may arise regarding trust interpretation.
A misstep at any of the stages of trust administration can expose the trustee to legal action. For instance, the trustee may be liable to beneficiaries if they are alleged to have breached their fiduciary duties. Or the IRS may hold them liable if they failed to pay taxes timely and correctly.
At Baxter Harder, LLC, our trust administration lawyers in Bend can help you through each stage of the process. We can also represent you should any issues arise, including conflict among beneficiaries, a pre-deceased beneficiary, ambiguous language in the trust, and tax complications.
Skilled Guidance Through the Trust Administration Process
Trust administration can be complicated and contentious. Without a sound background in Oregon's law, you may find this process overwhelming. Baxter Harder, LLC is here to ensure you fulfill your duties as a trustee efficiently and prudently.
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