Practice Areas

Trust Administration

Whether it's an honor or a burden (or both), you have been appointed trustee of a trust. What responsibilities have been thrust upon you? How can you successfully carry them out?
For most people, the task of administering the trust of a recently deceased loved one can be challenging, sometimes overwhelming.  It is a “process” that can seem huge at first, but like most things can be accomplished one step at a time.  For this reason, we at Jensen Law Group try to keep things orderly, as simple as possible, and help guide and advise our clients along the way.  This Memorandum outlines these steps.
At this very FIRST meeting with Greg and Sandy Jensen , we suggest discussion of the following INITIAL STEPS, and then meet as needed afterward as these things begin to fall into place.

For now, the following INITIAL LEGAL STEPS need to be accomplished:
            #1.  Certified Death Certificate
            #2.  Affidavit of Successor Trustee—Executed & Recorded in Washoe County, NV
            #3.  Certificate of Trust—Gives Authority to Act for the Trust
            #4.  EIN (IRS Form SS-4) for Trust Bank Account (Checking)—Successor Trustee O
            #5.  IRS Form 54—Notifies IRS of Trustee Authority to Act
            #6.  Notice to Creditors (90 days)—Mail & Publish in Paper
            #7.  Notice to Beneficiaries—By Letter
            #8.  CPA for Tax Return—At End of Trust Administration
For now, the following INITIAL ORGANIZATIONAL STEPS need to be accomplished:
            #1.  Secure Home & Assets
  1. Forwarding Mail/bills
  2. HO Insurance
  3. Car Insurance
  4. Confirm Taxes paid
  5. Social Security notified of death
  6. Appraisals—Date of Death Valuation
            #2.  Inventory Assets of Trust
  1. Review Trust Schedule
  2. Review Deeds/Decide to sell or distribute
  3. Review Titles/Decide to sell or distribute
  4. Review Accounts/Statements
  5. Appraisals on Key Assets
  6. Gather all medical/hospital bills
Here are some dos and don'ts to get you started:
1.  Do read the trust document. It sets out the rules under which you will operate. You need to understand it completely.
2.  Do create a checking account for the trust. All income and expenses should go through this account A checking account will enable you to make distributions and payments and keep track of them.
3.  Do keep the best interests of the beneficiaries in mind at all times. You have what's called a "fiduciary" duty to them, which is an extremely high standard.
4.  Don't have any personal financial dealings with the trust. For instance, you cannot borrow money from the trust or lend the trust money to anyone.
5.  Do provide the beneficiaries and anyone else indicated in the trust with an annual account of trust activity. This can be a copy of the checking and investment account statements or a more formal trust account prepared by an accountant or attorney.
6.  Do invest the trust funds prudently and productively. It is wise to get professional investment advice.
7.  Do keep in regular contact with the beneficiaries to understand their needs.
8.  Do be aware of any public benefits the beneficiaries may be receiving and make sure you do not jeopardize the beneficiaries' eligibility.
9.  Do file annual income tax returns for the trust.
10.  Don't fly solo. Get professional advice to make sure you are correctly fulfilling your role.

*You will have direct contact with the attorney, Greg Jensen, and not be passed off to a paralegal