A properly drafted and funded trust will generally avoid probate in the State of Arizona. Generally, action needs to be taken by the successor trustee to administer the trust once the creator of a trust- sometimes called a settlor, grantor, or trustor, becomes incapacitated or passes away.
The successor trustee named in the trust has certain duties and obligations to fulfill upon acceptance of the position as successor trustee. The successor trustee may want to obtain experienced counsel to ensure the obligations of trust administration are handled diligently. Competent trust administration protects the trust assets, the trust beneficiaries, and the successor trustee.
At Theut & Scaringelli, P.L.C., Lawrence Scaringelli and James X. Theut devote a significant portion of their practice to Arizona estates and trusts, which enables our firm to assist and support successor trustees in administering all types of trusts.
At our Phoenix, Arizona law firm, we offer guidance and assistance to the successor trustee in administering the trust in compliance with Arizona law.
We assist clients in determining the course of the administration based on the situation and the complexity of the trust. Initial steps include a detailed review of the trust by our attorneys. Examples of next steps in a trust administration include identifying and inventorying trust assets, obtaining date of death appraisals of trust assets, including appraising any real property that is part of the trust.
The trust administration will likely require notification of trust beneficiaries and the notification of the trust settlor’s creditors.
Trust administration continues with the possible preparation of trust accountings, obtaining a separate tax identification number from the I.R.S., coordinating with tax professionals to file personal and/or estate income returns, working with banks and financial institutions, and distributing the trust assets to the beneficiaries.
These are just a few examples of the tasks that may need to be completed during trust administration, and do not represent an inclusive list. Some trust administrations are more complicated, and can even involve wrongful death or abuse claims against third parties who caused harm to the trustor or trust assets.
Our attorneys have experience filing claims in the name of the trust, including claims against those who may have caused injury to the trustor or waste or conversion of trust property.
These are just a few examples of issues and duties that may occur during the course of a trust administration. The failure to handle these issues appropriately may result in the depletion of trust assets or even costly litigation, which can deter the intention of the trustor. At Theut & Scaringelli, P.L.C., our attorneys are prepared to assist you with all areas of trust administration.