Trust Administration


How Does Trust Administration Impact Your Estate?

Trust administration involves managing and distributing your assets in private after your disability or death.
The trust administration process ensures your assets are managed as per your wishes by your successor trustee.

In order to avoid probate, many estate plans include a revocable living trust. Trust administration is the process by which a designated Successor Trustee can privately carry out a disabled or deceased Trustmaker's wishes without probate court involvement. Trusts are used as a tool to avoid probate, preserve privacy, provide continuity of management for a broad array of asset types and provide ongoing protection for others after the Trustmaker's disability or death.

At Douglas H. McPhail, PLC, we've helped draft and administer thousands of trust plans. Our goals is to help protect your assets and transfer wealth to your beneficiaries while minimizing complications and legal hurdles.
Trusts are created in many different variations. Most trusts are revocable living trusts that are created to avoid probate court involvement upon the disability or death of the Trustmaker. In addition to avoiding probate, many trusts include special provisions that provide special protections for a disabled Trustmaker or for the ongoing benefit and protections of trust beneficiaries after the Trustmaker's death.

Although most probate avoidance trusts provide for outright distribution to the named beneficiaries, many trusts also include special provisions providing benefit and protections to others including:

  • Spendthrift trusts
  • Staggered distribution trusts
  • Discretionary trusts
  • Special Needs trusts
  • Charitable trusts

At Douglas H. McPhail, PLC, we understand the rules about how trusts work to your family's advantage. Without care, many of these special protections could be lost without the assistance of wise counsel. If your family estate plan includes a trust agreement it is important to confer with an attorney before taking action to manage, collect, sell or transfer trust assets.
Upon the death of the Trustmaker, a revocable living trust becomes irrevocable and a new set of rules govern the actions of the designated manager known as a Successor Trustee.

At Douglas H. McPhail, PLC, we help with many of the common responsibilities of your plan's successor trustee including:

  • How to accept responsibility
  • How to certify authority
  • Tax registration and reporting
  • Creditor notice and debt resolution
  • Proper asset collection, inventory and accounting
  • Efficiency: Trust administration streamlines the transfer of assets, avoiding the probate process, and ensuring your loved ones receive their inheritances promptly.

  • Privacy: Trust administration is typically a private matter, whereas probate proceedings are a matter of public record, allowing you to maintain confidentiality.

  • Control: Through a trust, you retain control over how and when your assets are distributed, even after your passing.

  • Reduced Tax Liability: Proper trust administration can help minimize tax liabilities, preserving more of your assets for your beneficiaries.

How Can We Help?

  • At Douglas H. McPhail, PLC, our experienced trust administration team is here to guide you through the entire trust administration process, ensuring that your wishes are carried out efficiently and legally. We offer the following services:

    Trust Establishment: We help you create a comprehensive trust that aligns with your specific goals and financial situation.
  • Trust Administration: We help manages all aspects of trust administration, from asset inventory to final asset distribution, with meticulous attention to detail.
  • Tax Planning: We provide expert tax planning to minimize your tax liability and maximize your assets' value for your heirs.
  • Beneficiary Assistance: We offer guidance to beneficiaries throughout the trust administration process, ensuring a smooth transition of assets.
  • Legal Expertise: With our in-depth knowledge of trust laws and regulations, we ensure compliance and protect your interests.

After The Death Of A Loved One, We Can Help You:

  • Review and understand the trust planning documents
  • Notify beneficiaries of the trust plan
  • Identify what the trust owns and what it was worth
  • Publish notice to creditors and resolve debts
  • Determine if probate proceedings are necessary
  • Learn how income taxes or estate taxes will affect you
  • Provide an account for all receipts and disbursements that occur during trust estate administration
  • Complete personal and estate income tax returns

Unfortunately, many families don’t become familiar with the estate planning process until after a loved one passes away. In the grief of losing a family member, it can be difficult trying to sort through their estate planning documents on your own.

You should never fill out claim forms for retirement accounts, annuities, or other assets that trigger income tax considerations  before discussing the matter with an experienced trust administration attorney.

At Douglas H. McPhail, PLC,  we can help you through the process of administering your loved one’s trust documents. 


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(231) 799-4994

About Our Firm

We provide estate planning counsel to our clients protecting their assets and preparing their family's estate planning needs. Learn more about our firm.

Contact Us

Douglas H. McPhail, PLC
800 E. Ellis Road
Norton Shores, MI 49441
(231) 799-4994