About Trust Settlement
Trust settlement involves executing the established provisions of the trust plan at the death or disability of the trustmaker. Trustees, under the guidance of an attorney, begin carrying out the trust terms as established in the trust document. A variety of legal and administrative tasks must be performed to wind down the decedant's estate (or address incapacity). In the post-mortem process, an estate inventory determines the current assets and how they are titled. Debts are paid and claims are made on life insurance, annuities, retirement assets, and the like. Taxes are filed and distributions to beneficiaries or trusts are made according to the terms of the trust. If the trust does not control the asset at time of death, a probate process may be necessary to transfer the asset to the trust for settlement. Depending how complex the estate is and how well it is organized prior to death, a settlement process may take only a few months or may require a year or more to resolve. Coordinating the client's assets with an updated trust prior to death greatly reduces time and cost when settling the trust. The clients' loved ones appreciate the work done during lifetime to ensure the plan is up-to-date and well organized, resulting in a timely and smooth settlement process.