How are Trust assets distributed after death?

This edition of the Koldin Report E-Newsletter is part of a series on questions we received from our "contact us" form on our website about Elder Law, Estate Planning and Medicaid.

All prior newsletters are saved on our website. You can read them by clicking here.

In this newsletter we answer the following question posed by a visitor to our website:

I am the Trustee of my mother’s Trust. When my mother passes away and the Trust terminates, do I have to sell the Trust investments and the family home before distributing to myself and my two siblings as the beneficiaries?

At the time a Trust terminates, all Trust accounts should be closed out and the Trustee should transfer them to the designated beneficiaries.

Investments such as stock can be kept as stock and transferred to the beneficiaries or they can be sold by the Trustee and then the cash proceeds of sale would be distributed to the beneficiaries.

If the beneficiaries desire to keep the current investments, you may want to consider contacting the financial planner who handled the Trust account to open up accounts at the same financial institution under the name of each beneficiary and then transfer the investments from the Trust account to the new accounts established for each beneficiary.

If any real property is still owned by the Trust and the beneficiaries desire to keep the property, then a deed needs to be done conveying the property to the beneficiaries.

If you plan to sell the property, then the Trust can be kept active and the Trustee can sell the property in the name of the Trust and then distribute the cash proceeds of sale to the beneficiaries. In this situation, if there are other assets in the Trust which are designated to be distributed to the same beneficiaries, you may want to retain enough of those assets in the Trust until the sale of the property to cover paying for anticipated expenses on the property such as maintenance, repairs, taxes and insurance.

For more information about Trusts, please see our website by clicking here.

At the Koldin Law Center, P.C., located in East Syracuse, New York, we have over 50 years of experience helping individuals plan for immediate crisis and long term care. Our attorneys are available to discuss your estate planning options, including the advantages and disadvantages of Revocable Trusts and Irrevocable Trusts, along with other estate planning considerations including a Will, Power of Attorney, and Health Care Proxy. We do not charge a fee for the initial consultation. We welcome your children, family attorney, accountant, and/or financial planner to be present at the initial consultation.

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