Trust Administration for Paralegals guest author: Heather Niehoff
If your office is assisting in the administration of a Trust, your client is more than likely the Trustee. Who the Trustee is can be huge when analyzing the paralegal’s role in the Trust administration process.
If the Trustee and the Settlor are one in the same person, your role as a paralegal assisting with Trust administration might include the following:
Ensuring that your firm makes periodic check-ins with the Settlor to make sure his estate planning needs have not changed.
Either actually preparing the necessary documents to transfer title of the Settlor’s assets into the name of the Trust, or recommending and following- up with the Settlor to make sure these transfers have been completed.
Making sure the Trust Income Tax Returns are filed in a timely manner, if necessary. In most cases, it’s not necessary. All Trust income is usually reflected on the Settlor’s personal Income Tax Return.
Be available to answer any of the Settlor’s questions or concerns.
Keep in mind that the Trustee has the duty to keep all beneficiaries reasonably informed as to the administration of the Trust. So, if there are beneficiaries other than the Settlor that are receiving benefit from the Trust during the Settlor’s lifetime, the paralegal’s role might include working with the Settlor to prepare notices and annual accountings to be sent to those beneficiaries.