Appleton Wisconsin Probate, Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning Attorneys, Kevin Davidson of The Estate Planning Group / Davidson Law Office,LLP discusses important documents and considerations for protecting your family and your assets, as well as Wisconsin Wills, Trusts, Estate Planning and Asset Protection issues.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Will your loved ones know what to do when you are gone?
If you have named children, family, or friends as a
successor trustee of your family trust, they likely do not know what the job
entails.Our office encourages talking
with successor Trustees now to eliminate some of the unknowns about what it
means to serve in this role.
In a standard revocable family trust, a husband and wife are
listed as co-trustees during their lifetime.Only when both spouses pass away, does a successor trustee step in to administer
the family trust.
In a nutshell, a successor trustee's job is to secure all of
a decedent's assets and distribute those assets according to the terms of the
trust.The trustee can be thought of as
a "manager," who keeps an accurate account of all amounts received
and any expenses paid out.
The first job of a successor trustee is to gather
information about all of the assets the individual(s) owned prior to passing
away.The length and work required
depends on the particular assets and how well records were kept.
To complete this job, the successor trustee will need to have
a Certification or Affidavit of Trust proving that the Trust is in existence and
a certified Death Certificate.
Once trust assets have been discovered, such assets will
likely need to be sold or liquidated.All
proceeds should be deposited into a checking account in the name of the Family
Trust.Trust assets that cannot be sold
right away should be maintained and updated.
The successor trustee should keep a running inventory of the
assets coming in and any expenses paid out.Taxes will still need to be filed, and known creditors may need to be
Once all creditors and taxes have been paid and assets are
liquidated, distributions according to the trust terms can begin.The trustees should have the beneficiaries
sign a form acknowledging receipt of their inheritance and releasing the
trustee from any liability.