When a person (known as the grantor) establishes a trust, the trust technically owns all the assets assigned to it. But assets, whether real property, personalty, or financial instruments, must be managed efficiently. In many situations, the grantor acts as trust administrator during his or her lifetime. In other cases, a trust requires an administrator at its creation or after the grantor passes. At Skabelund Wirig & Loos, our attorneys serve as administrators or trustees for a variety of trusts. We are prudent and meticulous in caring for the assets entrusted to us, so the grantor’s vision can be realized and beneficiaries can receive optimum value.
A trust administrator or trustee is a fiduciary charged with oversight of the trust assets. The administrator has a duty to protect trust assets and implement the trust’s plan for the benefit of the trust’s beneficiaries. Tasks required of a trust administrator include:
As a fiduciary, the administrator can be held personally liable for losses to the trust due to misconduct or mismanagement. Therefore, an administrator must have the appropriate background and be an honest and truthful person to serve the trust and avoid legal trouble.
Typically, a grantor names the administrator of the trust. Often, the grantor names himself as administrator and names a successor. While the grantor is in charge of the trust, he or she must comply with all regulations that govern the trust’s assets. As estate planning attorneys, we work closely with grantors to educate them on their responsibilities. Often, grantors name our firm as their successor because of the high level of trust we have established.
A grantor can also use a will to create a trust upon their passing; in this arrangement, assets pass into the trust rather than going directly to beneficiaries. Our wills and trusts attorneys have extensive experience creating these types of trusts, and we often serve as trustees.
In other cases, clients come to us because they are not happy with the way a trustee is managing a trust. The management problems most often cited involve a trustee failing to hold an accounting of the assets and failing to release funds according to trust guidelines. In rare cases, a trust has been so badly mismanaged that beneficiaries want to remove a trustee and appoint someone else. We litigate trust disputes on behalf of beneficiaries, and we also represent trustees who can face serious financial consequences if mismanagement is proven.
Skabelund Wirig & Loos provides reliable advice and strong representation in matters related to trust administration. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 801-788-4447 or contact our office online. We are conveniently located at 1149 West Center Street in Orem, just off I-15.