Estate & Trust Administration
Attorney in Franklin, Tennessee
Providing Sound Solutions and Peace of Mind
Managing your assets can be difficult enough; determining how those assets are managed in the future can add to that burden. In addition, when some of us accept the responsibility of making decisions on behalf of a loved one who has passed, making the right decisions during the Tennessee probate process while balancing the wishes of that loved one in the face of tangled state and federal laws often requires the counsel of an outside party.
At Middle Tennessee Family Law, our knowledgeable Tennessee estate and trust administration attorney is ready to assist Nashville, Franklin and Brentwood area families with these important decisions, and help them through the probate process.
What Is Estate Administration?
“Administration” of an estate generally refers to the disbursement of property owned by an individual who has died. Often, the will of the decedent names a particular person, called the “executor”, to perform this task. Executors are sometimes also called “personal representatives”; it is recommended that the person selected is an individual in whom the testator is willing to place a great deal of trust, as that person has a significant fiduciary duty to anyone with an interest in the estate, as well as a duty to act in the best interests of the estate itself.
Upon appointment, the duties of the executor generally involve compiling and determining the value of those assets set for distribution, paying all debts, expenses and taxes owed by the estate, and then distributing the remaining assets among the designated beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of the will. Because the entire probate process can sometimes take some time, the executor must in the meantime properly manage the estate assets; an executor mismanaging an estate may be found liable to any loss in value.
Tennessee also offers an option called small estate administration, which is essentially a faster, less complicated, and less expensive version of the full probate process which families can seek when a loved one dies owning a relatively modest amount of personal property. However, there are a number of statutory conditions which must be met in order to qualify for small estate administration. A skilled Franklin estate administration attorney can help families to determine which probate process is the best process for them.
What Is Trust Administration?
Trust administration is similar to estate administration in many ways, as the fiduciary duty owed in regards to both responsibilities is identical. However, a trust is often created to handle those assets which are either exempt from the probate process, such as retirement accounts, life insurance proceeds or to insulate certain assets from the probate process. For example, an individual can transfer ownership of an asset to a trust, and continue to control trust assets through management of the trust as a trustee. Upon the death of that individual, property within the trust is then dispersed, not through probate or the provisions of a will, but according to the provisions of the trust itself.
Because a trust is created with an eye towards future management of the trust, it is important that the person creating the trust (the “settlor”) designates a successor trustee to oversee the trust and to fulfill the purpose of the trust as stated by the settlers. An experienced Brentwood trust administration attorney can assist a settlor in creating a trust which effectively carries out their wishes, as well as provides guidance for trustees seeking counsel on trust management.
Contact a Knowledgeable Nashville Estate and Trust Administration Attorney Today
At the downtown Nashville offices of Middle Tennessee Family Law, our skilled Nashville estate and trust administration attorney is ready to help you with all your estate planning needs, including the creation of an effective trust, as well as assisting estate administrators and successor trustees in the management of assets during the probate process and beyond. With our extensive knowledge of both state and federal estate and tax law, we help many Nashville, Brentwood and Franklin residents find innovative methods of providing for their loved ones, both today and in the future. For a free initial consultation, we urge you to contact us today online.