David Howard Goldberg, P.L.

What can complicate trust administration?

One of the benefits of a revocable living trust is that it allows the assets funded within it to bypass probate according to the instructions left within the trust. Whereas probated assets may linger in the process for up to a year, trust administration may be settled within a month or two, barring any complications. Some of the factors that may complicate a Florida will going through probate may also complicate a trust after the death of the trustor.

Because of the necessity of having original documents with original signatures, the distance between the estate, its beneficiaries and the successor trustee may bring delays, but not anything that would cause concern. What may indicate trouble is if the beneficiaries disagree on the administration of the trust or decide to contest its validity. Challenging a trust requires similar arguments to those for challenging a will, but it is more difficult to challenge a trust.

Complex assets, such as an interest in a family business, intellectual property rights or other difficult to value property may require appraisals. This can slow the process down, especially if the beneficiaries disagree with the appraisal. As with any aspect of estate administration, the involvement of the IRS can add eight months or longer to the wait before the trustee can disperse the assets in the trust.

While a trust can certainly help streamline the period of time following a loved one's death, there is always the chance matters will become cloudy. The person responsible for trust administration carries considerable responsibility and potentially liability. Many Florida trustees seek the assistance of an attorney to guide them through this challenging time.

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