Trust Administration is the process people often find themselves in unexpectedly, after the death of a spouse or parent who created a trust prior to passing away.
It often brings confusion given complex financial and family issues. The process of reviewing the trust and finding and valuing the assets of a recently deceased family member can be difficult. Remember there is a definite process to follow for anyone administering a trust and AlerStallings has a defined process to assist you when you assume this new role.
Notice and Inventory of Assets
AlerStallings has a clearly defined path for the trustee. We start with giving notice to beneficiaries as required by law. We then inventory the trust assets, including determining a date-of-death valuation of these assets. Often, this requires obtaining an appraisal, which is important for future income tax because of cost basis adjustments. Essentially, this can mean lower taxes due to the elimination of unrealized capital gains.
Tax Forms and Trust Accounting
It is the duty of the trustee to file all tax returns. This includes personal returns of the decedent, trust taxes, and taxes due from the probate estate, if applicable. It is required that the federal estate tax IRS Form 706 be filed within nine months of death. If portability is to be elected, the estate tax return must be filed even if it would not otherwise be required. This is in addition to income tax returns 1040 for the deceased for the year of his or her death, and a 1041 tax return for the trust in every year of its existence after the death of the original trustor.
Trustees have a legal duty to prepare a trust accounting, according to the format prescribed by the Ohio Probate Code.
Distributions to Beneficiaries
The job of the trustee is not to make his or her own decisions regarding the disposition of assets, but to carry out the terms of the trust. Once the bills and taxes are paid, the trustee’s next step is to follow the terms of the trust and pay out any assets due to the beneficiaries.
Unlike probate, the court is not involved in this step. Instead, the attorneys at AlerStallings can guide you in distribution of the assets. Typically, this requires less time and cost than probate since there is no court involvement.
If you need assistance with setting up a trust or want to discuss what options you have, contact AlerStallings today.