How long does it take to administer a trust? I have heard all sorts of stories about the Trustee taking so much time to wrap things up. I thought a Trust was supposed to make things easy and fast.
– Fast-Moving on Franklin Dr.
Dear Fast-Moving on Franklin Dr.:
Being a Trustee (and doing the job right) can take over your life! One client, overwhelmed by the volume of paperwork, declared to me, “I just want my dining room table (and life) back!”
Yes, a Trust should (in theory) make money flow to beneficiaries faster than a court administration (probate). However, “twists and turns” often happen which slow down even the most well-meaning, committed Trustee. For example, I have a client who cannot close out an estate because she cannot locate five of her deceased Aunt’s old high school friends, each of whom are to receive $1,000 bequests. Or, imagine being a Trustee and needing to wait months for a creditor or government agency to get back to you on the status of a possible outstanding bill. These things naturally cause delays.
As a beneficiary, the key is to get an honest sense of whether the administration of a Trust is taking a long time because of typical delays OR because the Trustee is dragging his feet. If it is the former, then patience is a virtue. Being a Trustee is hard work and (often) a thankless job.
In this video I talk about “Where Is My Money? – Patience Is A Virtue“.