David Howard Goldberg, P.L.

Trust administration can be more complex than many expect

An important part of a complete estate plan is a revocable living trust. Property in a trust may bypass probate, allowing for distribution of a Florida estate's assets much quicker than if the deceased had only a will or no plan at all. However, this implies that the trustmaker, or grantor, correctly prepared and appropriately funded the trust as well as following other important steps. It is still possible that trust administration can take as long as probate.

One factor in determining how long it will take to settle a trust is the successor trustee, the person who takes over the trust after the grantor dies. This person may live far away from the estate, or the grantor may have named numerous successors who all have different opinions about administering the trust. It is also possible that the named trustee will refuse the role, especially if the grantor did not discuss the matter with him or her previously.

The beneficiaries may also raise disputes about how to deal with the assets in the trust. For example, a trust containing real estate or unusual assets can be complex to settle. Other matters can complicate trust settlement, such as whether the estate owes taxes or if someone formally contests the validity of the trust.

While a grantor may have included a trust with the hope that it would simplify probate, this is not always the result. This is why many in Florida who are going through trust administration find it helpful to have a skilled attorney as an ally. An attorney can use his or her experience to represent the interests of any beneficiary or trustee who is seeking a positive outcome while settling a trust.

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