Boston, MA asked in Estate Planning for Michigan

Q: Our mother had a living trust. can we hire an atty or other to settle the trust? Value: just under $1m incl $125k in RE

Atty firm who did the trust will help but not take full responsibility. Banks seem to help only with Acct with them Ideas?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Trent Harris
Trent Harris
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Jackson, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: Yes, you can hire another attorney to help you administer the trust. Sometimes the firms who draft trusts are limited in what they can later do, because they might have a conflict of interest. Other times, clients may wish for the law firm to do things but perhaps those responsibilities are not within the firm's agreement for the scope of the engagement.

Your best bet would be to consult with several probate/trust administration attorneys in the area where the trust's property is located and will be administered, and see if there is an attorney you/your family feels comfortable working with. As long as you are willing to sign the attorney's retainer agreement that outlines the expectations for both parties, you should have no trouble finding another attorney to help you.

Kenneth V Zichi agrees with this answer

Don L Rosenberg
Don L Rosenberg
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Troy, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: You clearly can hire an attorney to assist you with the trust administration. Just make sure you hire someone with extensive experience in trust administration. We specialize in this area and have clients all over the state and country. The trustee's responsibility is to collect, marshal, preserve and distribute the assets according to the terms of the trust. The trustee also has the responsibility to keep all qualified beneficiaries informed. Here is a brief checklist.

There is a specific process in administering a trust that must be followed. Some of the issues that need to be addressed are:

1. Prepare a List of Assets / Inventory

2. Open Trust Account

3. Liquidate, Consolidate or Transfer

4. Prepare a List of Creditors

5. Obtain a Federal Tax Identification Number

6. Notice to the Beneficiaries pursuant a specific statute with copy of documents.

7. Prepare an Accounting

8. Prepare Income Tax Returns

9. Distributions with appropriate releases and protection for the trustee.

If you have any questions or if we can help, please feel free to reach out to me

Don Rosenberg


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