Estate and Trust Administration is an area of law dealing with estates, which is comprised of the entirety of a person’s belongings and assets.  It also covers the creation and overseeing of trusts.  Estate planning and trust administration go hand-in-hand.  This is because trust administration is often a major aspect of managing an estate.  Many people create a trust to move certain items of property out of their estate, which can have beneficial estate tax consequences.

Lawyers who handle such matters are generally well versed in both trusts and estates; they may refer to themselves as “trust and estate lawyers” or some other similar title.  They may also have experience in dealing with wills, as the distribution of an estate is usually done through a will document.

What are Some Estate and Trust Administration Tasks?

Estate and trust administration usually involves the following types of tasks:

  • Identifying estate property and financial assets
  • Researching trust and estate laws to determine the most financially efficient estate administration setup
  • Creating and reviewing will documents
  • Handling estate lawsuits 
  • Creating estate trusts for spouses
  • Defending against trust disputes and will contests
  • Identifying potential trustees and estate administrators
  • Helping with overlapping tax matters

Estate and trust laws can be different from state to state.  Also, the distribution of a person’s property can occur through other means besides a trust.  For instance, the person may simply give the property to another person outright, as a gift, without the use of a trust or trustee. 

Thus, when dealing with estate and trust matters, it’s important to try and have a full grasp of your entire estate.  You should attempt to keep track of any distributions you have made in the past, as well as any property interests that you might be anticipating to receive in the future.

What if I Have a Legal Issue Involving Estates and Trusts?

One of the most common legal disputes in estates & trusts law is when a person challenges the way that property is distributed.  This can happen in a wide range of transactions, including will distributions, trust accounts, and charitable distributions. 

In such cases, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit in order to determine which person is actually entitled to receive the property.  This may require an in-depth review of the various documents and contracts that were used in the transfer process.  Without written records, this becomes difficult to do.  Thus, it is usually necessary to document estate and trust activity through legal forms and contract documents.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With Estate and Trust Administration Issues?

Estate and trust administration can often be one of the most complex areas of law.  This is because it deals with the entire sum of a person’s accumulated property and money.  Also, estate and trust law overlaps with many other areas of law, like real estate, tax law, and contracts law.  Thus, you may wish to hire a qualified estate lawyer if you need help with estate and trust administration.  Your lawyer can help you complete the necessary paperwork and can represent you in court if you are involved in a lawsuit.