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Tisser's Top Ten Trust Administration Checklist


  1. Contact an experienced trust administration attorney.
    (a) Failure to get proper advice can subject the trustee to personal liability.
  2. Review the estate plan.
    (a) Determine how many trusts need to be created.
    (b) Determine the trustees and beneficiaries.
  3. Collect all information regarding assets owned.
    (a) Was there life insurance on the decedent’s life?
    (b) Will any assets have to go through probate?
  4. Have the assets appraised.
    (a) What kind of valuation discounts should be used, if any?
    (b) Should the 6 month valuation date be used?
  5. Determine all of the decedent’s debts and liabilities.
  6. Establish an Administrative Trust for the decedent’s assets.
  7. Take into consideration all tax planning techniques.
    (a) Will an estate tax return be required to be filed?
    (b) Should disclaimers be made by anyone?
    (c) Should generation-skipping tax planning be done?
    (d) Will life insurance proceeds be subject to taxes?
    (e) What income tax issues need to be addressed?
  8. The trustee must be made aware of all fiduciary obligations.
    (a) Trust accountings must be prepared for beneficiaries.
    (b) Notification by trustee must be sent out to beneficiaries.
  9. After dividing the trusts, assets need to be allocated among the various trusts.
    (a) New bank accounts need to be opened.
    (b) New deeds must be prepared to transfer the real estate.
    (i) Property tax reassessments should avoid being triggered.
  10. Do not make any distributions without first consulting the trust attorney.