To administer a trust simply means to carry out the grantor’s wishes as written in the terms of the Trust and it is the Trustee who is responsible for carrying out these terms. Trust administration is usually an out-of-court process. The main exception is where a party contests an aspect of the Trust or contests the manner in which the Trust is being administered.
Depending on the instructions laid out in the Trust, the administration process may begin immediately (e.g. upon creation and funding of the Trust, the Trustee may be required to make distributions to the beneficiaries on a regular basis). Alternatively, administration may begin upon the occurrence of some event such as the death of the Grantor.
Depending on the size and complexity of the Trust, the Trustee should use an experienced trust attorney to guide the Trustee and ensure that the Trustee’s fiduciary obligations are met. The Trustee’s obligations will depend on the powers granted in the Trust; however, standard obligations include: 1) prudent investment of trust assets; 2) filing appropriate tax returns and satisfying tax obligations; and 3) making distributions according to the terms of the Trust.
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