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Settling a decedent's final affairs and distributing the estate's assets to beneficiaries usually involve a lot of complex processes. Trust is a crucial and versatile estate planning tool that allows surviving loved ones to bypass probate while keeping things private and out of public record. When you're gone, a trustee will help manage the trust property and transfer the assets to beneficiaries per your wishes.

If you need to draft a trust or want to understand how your trust will be administered upon your death it is essential to consult with a knowledgeable Pennsylvania estate planning attorney for proper guidance. At the Law Offices of Kelton M. Burgess, LLC, our attorney has the experienced legal services and reliable advocacy to help clients in estate planning and trust matters. Our attorney can enlighten you about the benefits and types of trusts, the role of the trustee, and help you understand the trust administration process.

The Law Offices of Kelton M. Burgess, LLC proudly serves clients in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and throughout the Greater Pittsburgh Area and surrounding counties.



What is a Trust?

A trust can be described as a fiduciary relationship in which a person (trustor) appoints another person (trustee) to hold assets on behalf of beneficiaries. The trustee will manage trust property – assets placed into the trust – and transfer assets to beneficiaries and heirs according to the provisions of the trust documents.

What's more, a trust allows surviving loved ones to avoid the time-consuming and expensive probate process. Also, it helps keep everything private and reduces estate and gift taxes. The trust may contain different assets, such as real estate property, bank accounts, investments, securities, and business interests. When you die or after sudden incapacitation, the appointed trustee will step in and administer the estate under the terms and provisions of the trust documents.

The Role of the Trustee

The trustee (or successor trustee) manages the trust property. Here are some of the other roles and responsibilities of the appointed trustee:

  • Identify beneficiaries and heirs to whom the trust property will be transferred.

  • Pay all administrative fees and expenses involved in the trust administration.

  • Gather the decedent's assets and property placed in the trust

  • Settle debts and taxes before transferring remaining assets to beneficiaries.

  • Handle all financial matters on behalf of the estate.

  • Distribute assets to beneficiaries and heirs according to the provisions of the trust.

  • Prepare and file final tax returns, and handle other tax-related issues.

  • Create a reserve fund that is for trust or estate-related expenses.

An experienced attorney can enlighten you about the role of the trustee and inform you about some possible issues that may be encountered during the trust administration process.

Common Trust Administration Issues

Here are some of the most common trust administration issues:

  • Outdated terms or provisions of the trust documents

  • Allegations of mismanagement of trust funds

  • Deceased or incapacitated beneficiaries

  • Contest the validity of the trust documents

  • Failure of the trustor to transfer assets into the trust

  • Vague instructions regarding the distribution of trust property to the beneficiaries

  • Dispute regarding the authority of the new trustee

Trust administration issues are often fiercely contested. An experienced attorney can work diligently with all parties involved to resolve any trust administration issue amicably and design strategies to help mitigate potential conflicts and problems.

How Legal Counsel Can Help

Creating a trust allows your surviving loved ones to avoid the costly and lengthy probate process when you die. However, drawing up a trust and ensuring its validity can present different challenges. Therefore, when drafting a trust, consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney is imperative for knowledgeable guidance and to help you navigate key decisions.

At Law Offices of Kelton M. Burgess, LLC, we're committed to assisting and guiding clients through the complex processes involved in drafting trusts. Our attorney can help you understand the different kinds of trusts, and determine the right option that best suits your unique needs.

Additionally, our team can seek a strategic plan to protect your legacy, help preserve your family assets, and assist your goals of transferring your assets, property, and interests to your surviving loved ones and dependents.


If you need assistance drafting a trust or want to understand the trust administration process, contact the Law Offices of Kelton M. Burgess, LLC today to schedule a simple consultation. Our dedicated team has the detailed legal counsel and reliable advocacy you need to make informed decisions. We're proud to serve clients in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and throughout Greater Pittsburgh Areas and surrounding counties.