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Many in Arkansas have learned that setting up a trust can be a complicated process, but it is one way in which to provide security for one’s heirs or for members of the family who have special circumstances. Trusts are ideal for complex assets, children with special needs or dependents who may be incapable of receiving a full inheritance at once. Perhaps even more complex than creating the trust is trust administration, and a great deal depends on the reliability of the successor trustee.

The person who sets up the trust is typically the primary trustee, but the document must also contain the name of someone who will take over the duties of trust administration after the trustee’s death or incapacitation. The successor trustee will handle the trust according to the specifications in the documents. This may mean managing its funds or distributing them and closing the trust. If the trust lives on beyond the trustmaker’s death, the successor trustee will have many responsibilities.

The trustee will work with the estate executor to handle the business of closing out the estate, which may involve payment of taxes and debts. Beyond probate, management of the assets funded to the trust is a critical role of the trustee. This may include collecting any funds from insurance policies and investments that name the trust as a beneficiary. The trustee’s duties may involve investing and growing the trust’s funds to ensure it can continue to provide for the beneficiaries.

Trust administration is a tremendous responsibility, and it may become a burden for someone who has little experience in such matters. It is essential that the choice of successor trustee be someone who is dependable and who understands the obligations and duties involved. Many left with this responsibility find it helpful to seek the advice of an Arkansas estate planning and probate attorney.