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Trust Administration

5-Star Trust Administration Attorneys

Top Trust Administration Attorneys in Austin,
Offering Exceptional Counsel & Service

probate attorney in austin

Todd A. Wilson

Trust Attorney

Trust administration can be a complicated, rule-laden process that typically involves fiduciaries, unforgiving deadlines, strict accounting requirements, multiple court hearings, and more. For trustees, beneficiaries, and others, navigating the ins and outs of trust administration can be tricky, especially when estate taxes, trust contests, and other issues arise.

 

No matter how you may be a party to trust administration in Texas, you can rely on an experienced trust lawyer at the Law Office of Todd A. Wilson for outstanding representation, support, and counsel throughout the process. 

 

Free Consultations   •   5-Star Trust Attorneys in Austin, TX

 

Call 512-827-9212 or Contact Us Online for a FREE Consultation

 

Our trust administration services are geared toward streamlining the process, avoiding unnecessary delays and costs, and helping our clients protect their interests every step of the way. 

 

Highlighting how it works and what to generally expect from our trust administration services, we invite you to explore the following — or to contact our knowledgeable trust lawyers in Austin, Texas, for a free, confidential consultation.

Trust Administration FAQs

 

At the Law Office of Todd A. Wilson, also known as TAW Law TX, we specialize in representing clients through Texas trust administration, providing personalized counsel and value-focused representation in all types of trust administration cases, including those in Travis County, Williamson County, Hays County, Bastrop County, and surrounding areas.

 

Delving into what trust administration entails and how our Austin trust attorneys can help you through the process, here are some helpful answers to common questions about Texas trust administration.

What is trust administration?

Trust administration is the process of overseeing the terms and carrying out the provisions detailed in a trust document, which may or may not be part of a larger estate plan. As such, trust administration generally involves:

 

  • Trustees: Responsible for managing the trust administration process, trustees are fiduciaries who have specific legal responsibilities to serve the beneficiaries’ best interests. Trustees are named in the trust document, and one or more parties can serve as trustees for a given trust.
  • Day-to-Day Management: From notifying beneficiaries to paying taxes, handling the trusts’ assets, and more, several duties have to be completed in Texas trust administration. Depending on the type of trust involved, these duties can be more extensive in some cases and potentially involve addressing creditors’ claims, making investments on behalf of the trust and its beneficiaries, and many other activities.
  • Beneficiaries: Named in trust documents, beneficiaries are those designated to receive certain assets held by a trust, with the terms of the trust explaining when and how specific assets are to be distributed to each designated beneficiary. Notably, trust beneficiaries have certain rights in Texas, including the right to full disclosure of a trust’s accountings and distributions.

 

 

Trust administration can focus on various types of trust devices, including (but not limited to): 

 

 

 

With each type of trust, the administration process can work in distinct ways, with some requiring unique considerations or raising certain challenges that an experienced lawyer can help you understand and anticipate.

How does trust administration work?

Trust administration tends to proceed as the tasks required by law and the provisions of the trust are completed. In general, these tasks and the work of trust administration will be done by the trustee(s), who will be responsible for initiating and overseeing duties like (but not limited to):

 

  1. Notifying trust beneficiaries: Notifications may not be a one-time task, depending on the type of trust involved and who the beneficiaries are.
  2. Managing the trusts’ financial affairs: This may involve anything from paying bills and dealing with creditors to working with insurers to receive life insurance proceeds, making investments for the trust, and more.
  3. Handing all trust records: Along with keeping specific records, trustees will also have to file certain trust records with the court to prove specific obligations have been fulfilled.
  4. Satisfying the trusts’ tax obligations: Filing and paying taxes for the trust can be a key part of trust administration, with distinct tax rules potentially coming into play, depending on the trust and its assets.
  5. Managing the trusts’ assets: Inventorying, appraising, and distributing the assets of the trust will also be an integral aspect of trust administration.  

 

Notably, trust administration is NOT the same as estate administration or probate. When it comes to the differences between trust administration, estate administration, and probate in Texas

 

  • The court is minimally involved in trust administration whereas it’s more involved in estate administration and probate.
  • The trust administration process can usually advance along faster timelines, with more privacy, than probate in Texas.
  • Trust administration, though complex, can be an effective option for transferring assets and distributing property.

When does Texas trust administration start?

The administration of a trust can kick off as soon as a trust takes effect and trustees have been appointed. For official appointment in Texas, trustees typically need to submit certain documents to the court, including (but not limited to) a(n):

 

  • Acceptance of Trustee Appointment 
  • Affidavit of Successor Trustee
  • Certificate of Trust 

 

All of this can occur when: 

 

  • Grantors create living trusts: Going into effect during the trust maker’s lifetime, living trusts will be irrevocable upon the death of the grantor. Still, the administration of these trusts, including asset distribution, can occur while the grantor is alive.
  • Grantors pass away: Death kicks off trust administration when grantors have set up testamentary trusts as part of their wills or estate plans. 

 

Often, death is involved in trust administration, but it doesn’t have to be. Special needs trusts, SLATs, GRATs, and many other types of trusts can be set up and administered during grantors’ lifetimes, meeting specific needs while offering distinct advantages.

How long does trust administration take in Texas?

It depends because no two trusts are exactly alike, and:

 

  • More complex trusts can take longer to administer.
  • Certain events, like the death of a beneficiary or trust contests, can create unforeseen bumps in the road that may complicate and extend the trust administration process.
  • Trustees’ mistakes and oversights can also prolong the trust administration process.
  • An experienced trust attorney can make a difference.

 

In fact, for any party involved in trust administration, an experienced trust lawyer can offer clarity, confidence, and powerful acumen to demystify the process and protect what matters most along the way. That can help simplify trust administration while delivering better outcomes without wasting precious time, effort, or money. 

What happens when a trust has vague terms?

Carrying out the terms of a trust may hit a roadblock if the trust langauge or terms are unclear. When this happens: 

 

  • Returning to the Statement of Intent in the trust can be crucial.
  • The court may need to get involved to interpret or issue rulings on the issue(s) or question(s) at hand.
  • Retaining an attorney can be pivotal to taking the right steps in these pricklier situations.

What if a trust has illegal provisions?

Although trustees are legally obligated to carry out the terms of a trust, this obligation can end with any illegal provisions. In fact, trustees are typically NOT obligated or required to execute any terms that would or could:

 

  • Defraud creditors
  • Unreasonably constrain beneficiaries from marrying certain individuals 

 

At TAW Law TX, our Austin lawyers have encountered all sorts of intricate, sensitive, and potentially thorny terms and situations associated with trusts and trust administration. That is how we have become so effective at guiding clients through the nuts and bolts of trust administration, providing extraordinary counsel when it’s time to address and make key decisions on various options, strategies, procedures, and more.

How & when does trust administration turn into trust litigation?

Trust administration can become the focus of trust litigation whenever disputes or allegations of wrongdoing arise in the process. This can happen with instances or accusations of:

 

  • Illegal or questionable terms of a trust: With questionable provisions, disputes over what a grantor meant or intended with certain property or stipulations can become points of contention.
  • The misdeeds of a trustee: Referred to as a breach of fiduciary duty, trustees can face these allegations when beneficiaries or others accuse them of mishandling the assets of a trust, failing to pay taxes, or acting in a way that harm’s the best interests of the trust’s beneficiaries. 

 

The potential for disputes is another reason why it’s prudent to retain an Austin trust attorney whenever you’re a party to trust administration in Texas.

Austin Lawyers for Texas Trust Administration

Retaining an attorney for any type of trust administration case in Texas is generally in your best interests, regardless of whether you’re a trustee, a beneficiary, or another interested party.

 

That’s because, in truth:

 

  • Trust administration can take time and lots of work.
  • It’s relatively easy for inexperienced and unknowing trustees to make mistakes, even if they have the best intentions.
  • Missteps in the trust administration process can create all-new costs, delays, headaches, and potential problems that could have been avoidable with experienced legal counsel.

 

With a trust attorney in your corner, you can leverage invaluable counsel and insights at every point in the trust administration process. With TAW Law TX, you also get unmatched representation, priceless peace of mind, and personalized support all focused on protecting and advancing your interests.

 

Talk to a trust administration lawyer at our top-rated Austin law firm for more answers related to your circumstances and options.

 

Free Consultations   •   5-Star Trust Lawyers ‘Near Me’ in Austin, TX

 

Call 512-827-9212 or Contact Us Online for a FREE Consultation