Trust Drafting & Administration

The critical role of a trust attorney in Connecticut

Trust administration is the process of managing and distributing assets held in a trust according to the terms and wishes of the trust creator (also known as the grantor or settlor). This is the trustee’s duty. Retaining a qualified trust attorney is essential in this process. We play a crucial role in representing and advising trustees in the trust administration process, collaboratively working with family members, other beneficiaries, and professionals, such as, accountants and financial advisors. An attorney in our office can also serve as trustee of a trust.

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Why you should consider the trust attorneys at Cohen Law, PLLC:

  • Legal Guidance: Trust administration involves navigating complex legal requirements and regulations, which can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the type of trust. As we handle  both estate planning and trust law, we can provide the necessary legal advice to ensure that the trustee fulfills his or her fiduciary duty in the trust administration and complies with all applicable laws and regulations.
  • Interpretation of Trust Documents: Trust documents can be lengthy and complex, making them challenging to interpret for individuals without legal training. We can decipher the trust document’s provisions accurately and ensure that the intentions of the grantor are carried out properly.
  • Minimize Errors and Disputes: The trust administration process must be handled with precision to avoid mistakes that could lead to delays, disputes, or even legal challenges. We  can help prevent errors that might jeopardize the distribution of assets or the trust’s validity.
  • Impartiality and Neutrality: In cases where there are multiple beneficiaries or complex family dynamics, we represent the trustee to  ensure that the trust administration process is fair and equitable for all beneficiaries.
  • Tax Planning and Minimization: Trust administration involves various tax considerations, including income taxes, estate taxes, and gift or generation-skipping transfer taxes. We create tax-efficient strategies to minimize the tax burden on your trust and its beneficiaries.
  • Communication and Reporting: We assign a trust attorney and paralegal who serve as points of contact for beneficiaries, answering their questions and providing updates on the trust’s administration. We can also prepare and file the necessary legal documents and reports required by Connecticut law.
  • Legal Protection: A trustee can be liable for mistakes in administering a trust. In the event of disputes or legal challenges related to the trust administration, having an attorney involved from the outset can provide the trustee with a layer of legal protection.
  • Compliance with Fiduciary Duties: Trustees have fiduciary duties to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries and manage the trust prudently. We provide guidance to trustees, ensuring they fulfill their responsibilities appropriately.

Trust administration is crucial to ensure that the grantor’s wishes are carried out accurately, the trust’s assets are protected, and the beneficiaries’ interests are safeguarded throughout the process. It is advisable to work with an experienced trust attorney with knowledge in trust and estate law to navigate the complexities of trust administration successfully.

Over twenty-two years combined experience with Trust Drafting and Administration. We have experience in drafting and administering many types of trusts, including the following:

  • Revocable Living Trust: A legal entity created during the lifetime of the grantor (the person establishing the trust). The grantor can transfer their assets, such as property, investments, and other valuables, into the trust for the benefit of themselves or their designated beneficiaries. The grantor typically acts as the trustee, managing the trust assets and retaining control over them during their lifetime. Key characteristics of a revocable living trust:
    • Revocable: As the name suggests, a revocable living trust is revocable, meaning the grantor can modify, amend, or revoke the trust at any time during their lifetime, as long as they are mentally competent.
    • Estate Planning: Revocable living trusts are commonly used for estate planning purposes. They allow the grantor’s assets to bypass probate upon their death, which can save time and costs associated with the probate process. Probate is a legal process that validates a will and ensures the proper distribution of assets, but it can be time-consuming and expensive.
    • Privacy: Unlike a will, which becomes part of the public record during probate, a revocable living trust offers privacy since its contents remain confidential.
    • Incapacity Planning: A revocable living trust can include provisions for the management of assets if the grantor becomes incapacitated, avoiding the need for a court-appointed conservator.
  • Irrevocable Trust: A trust that cannot be modified, amended, or revoked after its creation. Once assets are transferred into an irrevocable trust, the grantor, in many cases, gives up all control and ownership of those assets. The trustee, who may be an individual or a corporate entity, manages the trust and its assets for the benefit of the named beneficiaries. Key characteristics of an irrevocable trust:
    • Irrevocable: The primary distinction is that an irrevocable trust usually cannot be altered or terminated by the grantor. This level of permanence may offer certain estate tax benefits and asset protection.
    • Asset Protection: Assets placed in an irrevocable trust are typically shielded from the grantor’s creditors since they no longer legally own those assets.
    • Estate Tax Planning: Irrevocable trusts can be used as a tool for estate tax planning, as, in many cases, assets within the trust are removed from the grantor’s taxable estate. This can help reduce estate tax liabilities upon the grantor’s death.
    • Medicaid Planning: An irrevocable trust can be utilized for Medicaid planning, allowing the grantor to transfer assets out of their estate and potentially qualify for long-term care assistance under Medicaid.
  • Credit Shelter Trust: Also known as a bypass trust, allows a deceased spouse to pass assets to beneficiaries while maximizing estate tax exemptions.
  • Generation-Skipping Trust: This type of trust enables assets to be passed directly to grandchildren or subsequent generations, bypassing the immediate children, potentially reducing estate taxes.
  • Marital Trusts: A marital trust, often created within a living trust, allows a surviving spouse to access income and sometimes principal from the trust while deferring estate taxes until the second spouse’s passing.
  • Special Needs Trusts: A special needs trust safeguards assets for a person with disabilities, ensuring their financial well-being without jeopardizing eligibility for government assistance programs.

Meet with a Trust Attorney to Obtain Trust Drafting and Administration Counsel

If you become the Trustee of a Trust in Connecticut, you should contact us immediately.