Helping your family plan for the future

Many individuals and families use trusts to protect their assets from life’s uncertainties. Trusts can also be helpful if you’re looking to qualify for Medicaid, fund the care of a loved one with special needs, or for any number of other purposes.

However, trusts need to be administered by individuals or organizations who are comfortable with the ins and outs of running a trust—and that responsibility can be a lot to put on a loved one. Another word for trust administrator is “Trustee.”

At NJ Elder Law Center, our New Jersey trust administration attorneys help individuals and families figure out the right way to create and administer trusts for their long-term goals.

Our goal is to de-stress the process of administering trusts so you and your loved ones can have as much peace of mind as possible.

Thinking about creating a trust? Have a trust that needs administration? Contact us and our team can help you figure out the right solution for your trust needs.

What Is Trust Administration?

When a trust is created for estate planning or to fund care for a loved one with special needs, a person or organization needs to administer the trust.

Family members aren’t always the best option for administering a trust—a responsibility that requires both time and experience with the legal and financial intricacies of managing trusts.

Additionally, families don’t always have the resources to find experienced professionals to help with trust accounting, financial advising, and care management roles. Even when outside professionals are involved, it’s still essential to oversee that they’re acting in unison and the family’s best interest.

For many families, it makes sense to work with an individual or organization that can act as a trust administrator.

At NJ Elder Law Center, we understand that a trust often represents the financial results of a family’s hard work. As such, it’s crucial that all involved professionals operate from the same page and that the family’s best interests are kept front of mind.

Why Trust Administration Is Important

A trust administrator is a fiduciary, which means they must act in the best interest of the beneficiaries of the trust. It can be constructive to have a person or institution acting in this role for you and your family.

Even families who have experienced professionals to help run a trust still can benefit from working with a trust administrator—they can help keep everyone’s efforts aligned with the big-picture goals of the trust.

What do trust administrators do?

When it comes to responsibilities, trust administrators have quite a few, including:

  • Paying bills and other distributions
  • Acting as liaisons with accountants
  • Working with clients and beneficiaries to develop spending plans that balance payments to cover current needs with the preservation of assets for anticipated future needs
  • Investment supervision
  • Supervision of tax return preparation
  • Provision of annual accounting to courts
  • Acting as liaisons with eldercare professionals, such as care managers, facilities, home care agencies, and medical professionals
  • For trusts created as part of an estate plan, distributing assets or continuing to run the trust after the person who created it (the grantor) passes on
  • Keeping beneficiaries informed
  • Acting in the beneficiaries’ best interests

In addition, special needs trusts often require a more hands-on approach. When we administer special needs trusts, we take on these additional responsibilities, like coordinating benefits and balancing current and future needs.

Our approach

At NJ Elder Law Center, our mission is to provide clients with superior and strategic legal plans for their complex, long-term needs. Respect and empathy are central to our process.

Special Needs Trusts

Special needs trusts are an effective way of supporting a loved one while protecting their eligibility for essential benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, or Social Security.

These types of trusts are typically established for individuals whose special needs are:

  • Physical
  • Mental
  • Chronic illness
  • One or more of the above

A special needs trust may be funded with either the beneficiary’s or another’s assets. However, it must be administered by someone other than the beneficiary.

At NJ Elder Law Center, we often act as trust administrators for special needs trusts. This requires a more involved approach. This approach can include:

  • Coordinating benefits
  • Planning for future needs
  • Responding to current needs

Some professional trust administrators don’t provide those services because of the additional work involved in administering these trusts. However, administering special needs trusts is precisely in line with our mission.

We welcome the opportunity to take on this role and to work with families and other care providers going the extra mile for their loved ones.

Revocable Living Trusts

Revocable living trusts are a popular estate planning strategy.

A revocable trust is an effective way to help your family bypass the probate process after you pass on. Depending on the state in which you reside, revocable trusts may be more important. We are glad to discuss the benefits of revocable trust planning in your state. A revocable trust is also commonly used to allow a trustee to administer trust assets if you become incapacitated.

A revocable living trust can be changed by the grantor (the person who created it) at any time.

Irrevocable Trusts

Once they’re created, irrevocable trusts can’t be changed or ended, at least without permission from the beneficiaries. After assets are assigned to an irrevocable trust, the grantor is effectively no longer the owner.

Irrevocable trusts are less flexible than revocable ones, but they offer helpful estate planning benefits. Depending on the type of irrevocable trust you use, the benefits may be:

  • Reduce your estate taxes
  • Protect your assets from lawsuits and creditors
  • Preserve your eligibility for public benefits

Some irrevocable trusts are a useful tool for helping older adults qualify for Medicaid. However, remember there’s a five-year “look back” period for gifts and assets transferred to a trust when you’re determining your Medicaid eligibility.

To ensure that you don’t unintentionally disqualify yourself for Medicaid, start planning with an elder law attorney as early as possible.

At NJ Elder Law Center, our team is composed of dedicated and compassionate individuals. We work closely with individuals and families to help them qualify for Medicaid and achieve their estate planning goals.

Work with Our Experienced Trust Administrators

At NJ Elder Law Center, our trust administration attorneys are focused on client-based service and clear communication.

We don’t just return phone calls in a timely manner. We proactively follow up with our clients to ensure they stay informed and answer their questions.

If you have questions about working with a trust administrator, contact us. Our experienced attorneys can answer your questions and guide you through the process.

Trust Administration FAQs

How do I know if I need a trust administrator?

If you don’t have someone in your family with background and experience to administer a trust for you, then hiring a trust administrator can save you time and stress. Additionally, many families struggle to find and coordinate all the professionals needed to run a trust.

Trust administrators function as fiduciaries, meaning they need to act in the best interest of the trust’s beneficiaries. They take on a lot of responsibility.

Trust administrators:

  • Pay the trust’s bills and supervise the filing of its taxes
  • Supervise investments
  • Provide annual accounting records to the courts
  • Help beneficiaries balance current needs against future needs
  • Coordinate all the professionals associated with the trust to ensure it’s run in the beneficiaries’ best interests
  • Distribute assets or continue to administer the trust after the grantor passes on

At NJ Elder Law Center, we offer a compassionate and communicative approach to our trust administration services. We take our fiduciary role very seriously and keep clients informed at every step of the process.

When should I hire a trust administrator?

Although life can be unpredictable, it’s always easier when you think ahead about estate planning needs. If you think you’d benefit from working with a trust administrator, you can begin planning with that person or institution even before the trust is created.

However, even if a trust has already been created, the person you appointed as the trustee can hire a trust administrator with the funds of the trust.

If a family member or other close friend has been appointed as a trustee and is overwhelmed by their legal and financial responsibilities, it’s still possible to work with a trust administrator.

Our trust administration team regularly supports clients with administering trusts, including special needs, revocable living, and irrevocable trusts.

At NJ Elder Law Center, our experienced and compassionate attorneys proactively communicate with our clients and provide the additional services and coordination required for special needs trusts.

Contact Us

Serving New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Colorado