Oregon Trust Settlement
Collier Law in Salem is experienced in all aspects of trust law. Our practice focuses exclusively on wills, trusts, probate, guardianships, and conservatorships.
Our attorneys provide legal advice to trustees and successor trustees who need assistance with trust settlement.
If you are named as trustee of a trust, it is important to learn about what will be expected of you, both by the family and under Oregon law.
A trust, or revocable living trust, is a commonly used legal tool for estate planning. Personal property and real estate are owned by the trust. The individual who is responsible for managing those assets upon the death of the trust’s creator, and ultimately distributing the assets to the beneficiaries, is called the successor trustee.
Our office assists clients with:
- Creating trusts: We work closely with our estate planning clients to establish trusts and to manage assets owned by the trust and controlled by our clients as trustees during their lifetime.
- Settling trusts: We assist successor trustees with interpreting trust language and provisions, managing assets during the incapacity of the trust’s creator, resolving creditor claims, distributing the trust assets on passing, and understanding the various duties of a trustee.
Trust Administration Services
A successor trustee is named in the trust to manage someone’s affairs when they are unable to do so themselves. The role of the successor trustee is to carry out the terms of the trust and to manage the trust property. What that involves will depend on the unique aspects of the trust is administered, and the assets in play. It often includes the following tasks: identifying beneficiaries and secondary beneficiaries, paying administrative expenses, addressing creditors, distributing assets to the beneficiaries following the trust’s provisions, making arrangements for tax preparation, and holding a reserve fund to pay taxes if necessary.
Estate and Trust Administration
My parents named me as successor trustee. What do I do now?
If someone named you as successor trustee of their trust, you are not obligated to accept the role as successor trustee. We encourage our clients to bring their successor trustees in for a conversation about what that job entails if that is helpful to the family. Our office can advise you on what your duties maybe if you decide to move forward. A successor trustee must locate and manage all trust assets, such as accounts, property, and real estate. The trustee must notify the trust beneficiaries of the trust settlement and follow the instructions described in the trust document itself. Upon accepting the role of a successor trustee, you will be serving in a fiduciary capacity and will owe certain duties to the beneficiaries of the trust. If these duties are not followed carefully, the successor trustee can become personally liable to the trust beneficiaries. It is important to make sure you understand the duties involved with serving as successor trustee before accepting the nomination.
What are the actions a trustee takes when someone passes away?
Settling a trust is a private process, and the court is generally not involved. However, a trustee must still follow strict guidelines outlined in the trust document and Oregon law. A trustee (also referred to as a successor trustee) must administer the trust and manage its assets in good faith and the best interests of the trust beneficiaries. There are duties regarding disclosures of information and duties requiring preparation of financial reports.
Successor trustees usually call upon legal, accounting, and investment professionals for assistance to efficiently settle the trust. The first step you should take as the successor trustee is to find an attorney to help walk you through your duties.
Trust Administration Attorney
Many Trustees work with attorneys in settling trusts. An attorney can ensure that a Trustee complies with their duties as promptly and efficiently as possible. An attorney can also help a Trustee avoid exposing themselves to personal liability for the way the trust is settled, or assets are handled. The expenses of the Trustee’s attorney are generally deductible expenses of administration and can be paid from the assets of the trust.
The legal team at Collier Law in Salem is here to assist you with trust administration proceedings. Please call our office to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.