Selecting an agent, executor or trustee is one of the most important estate planning decisions you will make. While naming a family member may be the initial choice, these individuals typically will not have the expertise to fulfill all of their fiduciary obligations without hiring legal, investment, and tax advisors. Potential conflicts can also arise between an individual serving as fiduciary and other family members.
Serious consideration should be given to designating an independent trustee, either alone or as a co-trustee with a family member or trusted advisor, with sufficient provisions in the trust document to remove and replace the trustee without court intervention.
With our combined trust experience from both the planning and trust administration perspective, SageTrust™ Law Group is uniquely positioned to advice fiduciaries as “agent” for executor or trustee for probate and estate and trust administration matters, and to serve in a professional fiduciary capacity (e.g., as Trustee or Co-Trustee) for select clients.
Click here to download a summary of our Fiduciary Services.
Agent for Executor or Trustee
- Advising executors and trustees on probate and estate and trust administration matters, including valuation of assets, court filings, tax elections and filings, and transfer and distribution of assets to beneficiaries
Professional Fiduciary Services
MANAGEMENT AND PRESERVATION OF TRUST ASSETS
- Collect income and make disbursements for reasonable and necessary trust expenses in accordance with the trust document and applicable state law
- Coordinate and delegate investment management to investment advisor in accordance with prudent investor rule (as applicable); approve investment policy statement and review investment performance (or follow direction of Investment Manager, if Directed Trust)
- Oversee/manage real estate, business interests and other closely-held assets (or follow direction of Investment Manager, if Directed Trust)
- Perform cash management for anticipated trust distributions and expenses
- Buy/sell trust assets taking into account tax considerations; manage trust liabilities
- Balance interests of current income and remainder beneficiaries in accordance with the trust document and applicable state law, and preserve trust assets for duration of the trust term
TRUST DISTRIBUTIONS (MANDATORY AND DISCRETIONARY)
- Administer and distribute trust assets in accordance with the trust document and applicable state law
- Coordinate and review/approve discretionary distribution requests from beneficiaries
- Assist discretionary beneficiaries in developing annual budget, and collect budgetary and outside resources documentation for discretionary distribution requests as required by the trust document and applicable state law
- Provide oversight as directed by trust document with regard to distributions for the health, education, maintenance and support, and best interests of the beneficiary(ies)
- Balance interests of current income and remainder beneficiaries in accordance with the trust document and applicable state law
TRUST RECORDKEEPING AND REPORTING
- Properly allocate receipts and expenses between trust accounting income and principal
- Prepare trust accountings reconciling all purchases, sales, and changes in trust assets
- Provide statements to beneficiaries as required by trust document and applicable state law
- Organize and review tax information for the trust
- Make tax elections to shift taxable income to beneficiaries in lower tax bracket and achieve other tax advantages
- Complete and timely file trust tax return, provide K-1’s to beneficiaries