and Your Family
Suffolk County Will Trustee
When you make your will, you have great deal of flexibility as to the terms of your will and its features. One way to design a will is to include a testamentary trust. A trust is a fiduciary arrangement that allows the trustee you name to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries. In the case of a testamentary trust or a will trust, the trust is created by your will and goes into effect when you pass away. It is distinguishable from a living trust that is created and funded not by a will, but by you during your lifetime. The role of the person you name as the trustee is to manage the trust property and distribute it according to the terms of the trust agreement. Will trusts are often used when leaving property to minors or even adults who may not be able to managing such property themselves. Creating a last will and testament that will result in the establishment of a trust can be complicated. If you are considering include a trust as part of your will, contact an experienced Suffolk County will trustee lawyer at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates. With over two decades of experience, we can draft a will with a trust that will men your needs.Will trustee
The trustee of a will trust has responsibilities that are similar to the responsibilities of an executor. The job of the executor is to manage your estate once you pass away. Once your will is admitted to probate, the executor will inventory your assets, pay the estate's debts and then distribute your estate's assets to the beneficiaries you named in your will. The job of a will trustee is to manage the trust for the benefit of the trust's beneficiaries. This means that the trustee must base his (or her) decisions regarding managing the trust’s assets and making distributions from the trust on the terms of the trust document and on what is in the best interest of the beneficiaries. For information on the specific responsibilities of a will trustee, contact an experienced Suffolk County will trustee lawyer.Will trust and avoid probate
Probate is the legal process that occurs once the New York Surrogate's Court determines that a will is valid. The executor then officially takes over the administration of your estate. He (or she) will collect, inventory and appraise your assets, pay your estate bills, settle claims, and then distribute your assets to your beneficiaries. Depending on the size and complexity of your estate probate can take a few weeks or even a few years. If there is a will contest or any type of estate litigation, probate may be extended.
As an experienced Suffolk County will trustee lawyer will explain, there are advantages to avoiding probate. If an asset is not subject to probate then the beneficiary who you select to receive that asset will receive it a lot more quickly. Furthermore, probate can be expensive. Fees associated with probate will be paid out of estate assets. The more fees involved the fewer assets available for beneficiaries.
If an asset is not part of the estate that goes through probate, the beneficiaries will receive it sooner. One of the advantages of certain types of trusts is that trusts are not subject to probate. However, this is not the case with will trusts. A testamentary trust can only be established and funded once the will that creates it goes through probate and assets are distributed.Selecting the trustee
You should take great care when selecting a will trustee as the trustee will have a significant amount of responsibility and power in managing the trust assets. Accordingly, the trustee you select must be trustworthy. In addition, because the trustee will be responsible for making financial decisions related to the trust assets, the trustee should have a proven track record for making wise investment decisions. Furthermore, the trustee should have an understanding of the tax ramifications of business and investment decisions that he (or she) will make for the trust. The trustee should understand how to keep accurate business records, as he or she will be required to provide accountings to the trust beneficiaries regarding how the trust assets have been managed.
Because the trustee will have to interact with the beneficiaries quite frequently, you should select someone who is willing to take on this long-term responsibility. The trustee should also have the appropriate disposition to maintain a good working relationship with the trust's beneficiaries. With trust matters, the trustee must make the interests of the beneficiaries primary and avoid any conflict of interest with the beneficiaries.
In selecting a trustee, you may be tempted to select a family member or a close family friend. However, before making such an important decision, it is wise to consider all of the responsibilities of a trustee in order to determine if that person is the appropriate choice.
In addition to friends and family, you should also consider the advantages and disadvantages of appointing a corporate trustee. Managing a trust is a huge responsibility with complex responsibilities, particularly if the trust has substantial assets. To make everyone comfortable with the idea of a corporate trust, you could also consider naming a co-trustee along with the corporation. The co-trustee could be a trusted family member or friend.
The advantage of hiring a corporate trustee is that with a corporate trustee comes experience, particularly in handling the investment and recordkeeping duties. Furthermore, it may be easier for a corporate trustee to make objective decisions about distributions, causing fewer family squabbles about how the trust funds are managed and distributed. A significant downside to naming a corporate trustee is that corporate trustee charge hefty fees that would be paid out of trust funds, affecting the amount of money available to the beneficiaries. To learn more about working with a corporate trustee, contact a skilled will trustee attorney serving Suffolk County.Duties of a trustee
The main job of a trustee to carry out the terms of the trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries. This means that the trustee should not make trust decisions with his or her best interests in mind, but with the best interests of the trust and the trust beneficiaries. Depending on the purpose of the trust, the trustee has several responsibilities including recordkeeping, administration, and investment management.
Trust Administration. Administering the trust according to its terms can be a difficult task. It typically involves distributing assets to trust beneficiaries when they make requests, or making payments on behalf of beneficiaries. Beneficiaries can be demanding. It is up to the trustee to care for the current needs and wishes of the beneficiaries, while preserving trust assets for the future needs of the beneficiaries.
The trustee must also keep the trust beneficiaries reasonable informed about trust administration, including an accounting when appropriate or required by law.
Investment management. The trustee must actively manage the trust’s assets by making investment decisions that will help preserve the trust assets for the long-term needs of its beneficiaries. This is particularly important in cases where trust beneficiaries are children.
Recordkeeping. It is critical that the trustee keeps accurate records regarding the management of the assets of the trust. If the trust has substantial assets, the trustee may need to hire an accountant or financial planner to assist with the management of the trust's assets. The goal would be to maximize the trust assets, minimize tax obligations, while also distributing trust assets for appropriate purposes.
The trustee is responsible for tax preparation. He or she must make sure that the trust's tax returns are prepared accurately and filed timely. If the trust is audited, the trustee must resolve the audit, involving an accountant or tax attorney if necessary.Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates
Setting up a will and a trust is a complex undertaking. Do not try to complete this task on your own; it is important to work with an experienced will trustee attorney in Suffolk County.
The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience designing comprehensive estate plans, including wills, trusts, and other estate planning tools. We will advise you on the best course of action for your specific estate planning concerns. Contact us at 800-696-9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Suffolk County, Staten Island, Nassau County, Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Long Island, and Westchester County.