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5 First Steps to Take When You Become a Family Trust Administrator

family trust Becoming the family trust administrator is a big responsibility during a stressful time. We always hope for the best for all our clients who are suffering from mesothelioma. We hope that they are receiving excellent medical care and responding well to treatment. We want them to be able to enjoy with their families the financial awards we win for them in their lawsuits against those responsible for exposing them to asbestos.

But mesothelioma is a cruel disease. Tragically, sometimes a client with mesothelioma will pass away from the disease before or shortly after we win their case and obtain financial justice for them. Because these awards can and often do amount to millions of dollars, a family trust typically is formed to manage the money. In addition to coping with the stress of mesothelioma, a lawsuit and grief over the loss of a spouse or parent, the family member designated as the trust administrator has to take on this responsibility. Here are a few first things to do. It’s a lot. We know. We can help.

  1. Bring Estate Documents to Local Government Offices

Bring copies of:

  • the will
  • the trust agreement
  • the death certificate

to the county clerk office where you live and to any county clerk office where your loved one owned property. This will remove their name from the property tax rolls. You should receive a tax payer identification number for the trust.

  1. Locate and Update Assets

Part of your duty as a trustee is to manage all the estate’s assets. To do that, you have to find them first.

Look for:

  •  bank statements
  • deeds
  • stock certificates
  • life insurance policies.

Or you can wait for monthly statements in the mail or get a transcript of last year’s tax return from the IRS. For each bank and investment account, you will need to change the name on the account to yours so you can keep it active and make decisions to for the good of the trust.

  1. Bring Estate Documents to Banks and Brokerages

Before they do business with you,

  • banks
  • brokerage firms
  • other third parties involved with the trust’s assets

will need proof in writing that you are the trustee. Bring each of them copies of the original signed trust agreement and the death certificate.

  1. File claims for insurance, Veterans and Social Security benefits
  1. Notify, Notify, Notify

Ask the attorney who prepared the trust to give you a summary. This will suffice for notification purposes. In addition to banks, brokerages, insurance companies and Social Security, notify;

    • Phone services and utilities
    • Credit card issuers
    • The post office (have mail forwarded to you if the address is different so you will receive bills, checks and other mail)
    • Medical care providers
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