You’ve worked for years to build your business and your estate. Your goal is to make sure your family is cared for, even after you are gone. But, without proper planning, you could lose those hard-earned assets to taxes, family disputes, or litigation. A trust is one way to protect your assets for your heirs. A trust provides you with the ability to decide which of your heirs will receive certain assets and how these assets will be distributed.
In legal terms, a trust is a fiduciary agreement in which a grantor (the creator of the trust) allows a trustee or trust administrator to hold property on behalf of his heirs or beneficiaries. Trusts can be established for any type of real or personal property, including money, businesses, real estate, stocks, bonds, personal possessions, motor vehicles or collections. Trusts are often used to protect assets from taxes and to prevent probate after death. They can also be used to insure that money intended for heirs is used according to the grantor’s wishes.
A properly drafted trust will not need to go through probate. However, the trust will still be administered. You have the option of appointing a trusted friend as a trustee or hiring a law firm to act as a trust administrator. The role of the trust administrator is to manage assets placed in a trust according to the instructions of the trust document or trust instrument. The trust administrator is responsible for protecting trust assets, maintaining accurate records, paying any taxes, and making reports to beneficiaries of the trust.
When the grantor dies, the trust administrator is responsible for paying any debts and filing the grantor’s final income tax return. The trust administrator may also file estate tax and fiduciary income tax returns. Once debts are paid, the trust administrator will make distributions to the beneficiaries of the trust.
Trust administration requires strong ethics, attention to detail, and a comprehensive knowledge of the law. Petrelli Previtera provides trust administration services as well as assistance to trustees. We have the legal skills and knowledge to ensure that your trust is in safe hands.
When the grantor of a trust dies, the beneficiaries of the trust may disagree on the terms of the trust. This is especially true when the trust involves substantial assets or when family members don’t get along. Because trusts are not as flexible as wills, a trust may be disputed if it doesn’t adequately provide for grandchildren or other members of the family who are born after the creation of the trust.
Petrelli Previtera works on behalf of both beneficiaries and trustees when the terms of a trust need to be interpreted or modified. Our job is to clarify the terms of the trust and resolve any disputes. We strive to resolve the issues among the beneficiaries through informal means such as mediation. However, we are prepared to go to court if litigation becomes necessary.
Ready to discuss your estate planning needs? Please contact the Petrelli Previtera Firm at 215-645-4297.
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Ensure your assets are protected now and in the future. Contact the highly-qualified attorneys at Petrelli Previtera, LLC for a confidential consultation. We will discuss your needs and come up with the best course of action.
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