Golden Law Center
200 Highland Ave, Suite 302, Needham, MA 02494
While estates have a limited life span, trusts can live on for years. Trust administration requires a trustee of a trust to administer the trust for the benefit of its beneficiaries according to the terms set out in the trust document. Golden Law Center attorneys help our clients by interpreting these often-complex documents and making sure that trustees understand the nature of their duties and how to carry them out.
Trustees have a number of often complex and on-going duties. Not everyone is cut out for the job. A good trustee is organized, thoughtful, and willing to ask for help from professional advisors. A trustee must be loyal to the interests of the beneficiaries, and not put his or her interest ahead of them. A trustee must impartially carry out his job and treat all the beneficiaries fairly and respectfully. A trustee must prudently invest and manage the trust’s assets, keeping in mind the settlor’s goals in creating the trust, the instructions for administration contained in the trust, and the various needs of the beneficiaries. The trustee must provide beneficiaries with accounts showing the Trust’s financial activities on an annual basis and respectfully answer their reasonable questions.
If the trustee is uncertain about the interpretation of the terms of a trust, or if a trust no longer works due to changes in the law or circumstances since the trust was first created, the trustee may need to obtain assistance from the Probate Court through Petitions for Instruction, Petitions for Trust Reformation and Complaints for Declaratory Judgment. Under some circumstances, irrevocable trusts may be amended or terminated by a non-judicial settlement.
The administration of Special Needs Trusts require particularly careful attention. The trustee must be mindful that these trusts are subject to review by Medicaid (MassHealth) and possibly the Social Security Administration, and that improper handling and expenditure of trust funds may result in the beneficiary losing eligibility for public benefits. A special needs trustee may work with the beneficiary’s guardian, conservator, housing provider, social worker, and others in addition to his dealings with the beneficiary. The Golden Law Center attorneys will work with you to help you understand the complexities associated with these trusts so that you can have confidence that the trust will work in the manner intended.
Similarly, trusts designed to minimize estate taxes requires paying special attention to the funding and administration. Because of the complexity of and the tax laws affecting these trusts, the trustee must pay special attention to the valuation and allocation of different assets and ongoing accounting and tax requirements.