Trust Administration

Trust Administration

Many people elect to establish a Revocable Living Trust as the centerpiece of their estate plans instead of just a Will so they can avoid a probate of part or all of their estates upon their deaths. If the legal title to the property is held by the trustee of his or her trust, the administration and distribution of that property upon the individual’s death is handled simpler, faster, and at much less expensive than if that property had to be probated. A trust administration is NOT a court-supervised process, yet its ultimate goal is also the transfer of property from an individual who has died (the “decedent”) to that individual’s beneficiaries who are identified in her Revocable Living Trust

The advantages of a trust administration over a probate proceeding include a potentially quicker distribution of the property to beneficiaries, a greater degree of privacy due to there being no court supervision of the process, and in most cases, a much less expensive manner of distributing property to beneficiaries.

Costs to administer a trust are generally much lower than those associated with a probate. Probate fees include the compensation paid to the executor of the estate and to the attorney whom the executor retains to assist her with the administration of the estate. There are no court filing fees or fees paid to probate referees to appraise the property in the trust.

In general, the probate fees amount to about 5% of the gross value of the probate estate for ordinary services. By contrast, the fees to administer a trust with the same property at the same value are usually less than half as much as would be due were that property to be probated.

Important Notes

The vast majority of our clients choose a Revocable Living Trust in lieu of a Will to ensure their heirs avoid the time, publicity, and expense of probate court.

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