Trust is essential to robust, authentic, and productive working relationships. Without it, business slows down, and costs rise.
A trust administration checklist is a great way to ensure that all the steps are correctly taken when administering a trust. It can be customized to each client and law firm.
Obtaining the Death Certificate
The death certificate is essential to the trust administration checklist because it enables you to begin administering the deceased’s affairs. It includes transferring ownership of the assets to beneficiaries and claiming insurance benefits.
The certificate can be obtained through the funeral home where you have laid your loved one to rest or ordered from a state-by-state website. You will likely need multiple copies to handle your trust’s affairs.
Most states require that the death certificate be filed within 72 hours of a person’s passing. It means you must request the certificate to process and mail it as soon as possible.
In most cases, the certificate will be signed by a medical professional who has confirmed the time and place of the person’s death. This professional can be a coroner, a forensic pathologist, or a doctor who performed an autopsy.
Many people get a certified copy of the death certificate for their records. These copies have additional security features like a raised seal, micro-printing, heat-sensitive ink, and more.
Family members, the next of kin, legal representatives for the decedent’s estate, funeral home representatives or employees, or those authorized by the court may request a certified copy of the death certificate. A certified copy of the certificate is necessary to close bank accounts or access insurance benefits.
Identifying the Beneficiaries
As a trust administrator, you must identify the beneficiaries as quickly as possible. It allows you to create an appropriate payout schedule for each beneficiary.
Beneficiaries of a trust generally fall into two categories: primary and contingent. When a grantor passes away, a direct beneficiary is the first to receive any property. In contrast, a contingent beneficiary is only meant to inherit if the primary beneficiary dies or chooses to do so.
The importance of identifying the beneficiaries of a trust is to ensure that they are provided with assets. If no beneficiaries are named, all the trust’s assets will pass through probate, a lengthy and costly process that can take up to two years.
Whether the beneficiaries of your trust are children or grandchildren, you will need to obtain their names and contact information. It will help you properly file taxes and make the required distributions.
Moreover, you must get copies of any legal documents related to the trust. Keeping these records organized will also save you time in the future as you administer the trust.
Obtaining Legal Documents
The transfer of property between people can be done through the use of a trust, which is a legal document. It can also be a helpful tool in the estate planning process.
A person can create trust by signing a written agreement outlining how the assets will be managed. It will also include information about what happens to the trust if the person who created it dies or becomes incompetent.
Once a person has established a trust, they can name beneficiaries who will receive the assets. These beneficiaries can be family members, friends, or other individuals.
Many people use a trust to pass on money or assets to their children or grandchildren after death. A trust may also be used for other purposes, such as providing for a person who is physically or mentally disabled.
Obtaining all the necessary legal documents is essential to the trust administration process. These documents will help the trust administrator identify the proper recipients of assets and distribute them according to the terms of the trust agreement.
The first step in obtaining these legal documents is to contact the person who set up the trust. They can then provide a trust administration checklist to guide you.
Getting the correct legal documents for your trust can be complicated and confusing, so working with an estate lawyer is crucial to ensure everything is done correctly. It can help you avoid many legal issues and protect your assets.
Accurate records are essential for businesses of all sizes, providing insights into operations and giving a basis for decision-making. They also help companies to stay organized and avoid costly mistakes.
For a small business, this can mean creating and maintaining accurate customer and financial records to keep track of actual transactions and stay compliant with federal, state, and local laws. Keeping records also can help you avoid unnecessary fines and other legal action, which can result in financial losses.
However, knowing where to start regarding record-keeping can take much work. Businesses must keep many records, such as client correspondence, contracts and agreements, organizational processes, administrative documents, financial records, case files, and company policies.
Generally speaking, it’s best to keep these documents for three to seven years, although this can vary depending on the situation. For example, if your company is involved in a lawsuit, you may need to retain these documents for up to 10 years.
While some companies maintain physical records, adopting an electronic management system is much better. Doing away with the requirement for storage supplies, document processing, and manual labor can save time and money. It can also help you securely store confidential data and protect it from unauthorized access.