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Trust Administration Attorneys in Berks County, PA

Planning for the future can be stressful and time-consuming, but it’s something that everyone will need to do sooner or later. Unfortunately, many people falsely believe that you don't need to start estate planning until you’re older—but this can actually end up making the process even more complicated. By talking with an experienced estate planning attorney early on, you can get a plan in place now that can then change and adapt with you as you age and as your family grows.

While everyone’s estate plan will look a bit different, one of the most effective documents you can have is a trust. But what does this look like in practice and how can it best serve your needs? At Curran Estate & Elder Law, PLLC we can assist you with every step of forming a trust and explaining how it will be administered after your passing. If you’re in the Reading, Pennsylvania area or in Berks County and the neighboring counties of Schuylkill, Montgomery, Lancaster, Chester, and Lebanon, call us today to schedule an appointment.

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Trusts in Pennsylvania

A trust is a legal estate planning document that allows you to transfer certain assets out of your name and put them under the name of an appointed trustee. As the trustor, you still have control over the trust and the assets within it, but the right to hold the title is now under the name of your trustee who will administer the trust after you pass (ie. distribute assets to your beneficiaries).

Trusts have a number of benefits compared with a traditional will. Like a trust, a will allows you to name beneficiaries who will receive your assets—but a will must also go through the lengthy legal process of probate. Probate is the process where your will is “proved” in court and this can take several months to a year to complete. Trusts avoid probate since you’ve already transferred ownership of your assets and a court does not need to intervene. This can save your administrator and beneficiaries time and money and generally leads to an easier transition.

Trusts also remain private after you pass, unlike wills. When a will goes through probate, its contents become available to the public so anyone who requests access will be able to see everything that’s in it, including details about your wealth and estate.

The Role of the Trustee

Perhaps one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make when forming a trust is who to name as your trustee. So what should you look for when picking a trustee and what will they be responsible for doing?

Your trustee has a big job, so you want to choose someone who’s organized and responsible, and someone who will carry out your wishes as laid out in the trust. This can be an individual you know and can depend on like a friend or family member, but you can also name an attorney or corporate trustee like a bank or trust company to fill the role. Your trustee will be responsible for identifying and notifying your beneficiaries, paying any administrative expenses (which is typically done using the assets in trust), notifying creditors and paying any outstanding debt, distributing assets according to trust provisions, preparing taxes and paying any back taxes, and creating a reserve fund for any unforeseen expenses.

Common Trust Administration Issues

With any legal document, the more time and effort you put into it on the front end, the fewer problems you’ll have down the road. Even so, there are potential issues that can come up during the trust administration. Here, the role of the trustee becomes even more important as they’ll have to address these concerns using their best judgment along with your previously-stated wishes.

Probably the most common issue occurs when a beneficiary suspects or accuses the trustee of mismanagement of the assets. Unfortunately, this can lead to family in-fighting about the estate. This could lead to a beneficiary demanding funds before the trustee is ready to distribute them, contesting the trust, or questioning the authority of the trustee altogether. Other problems may come up if there are provisions or terms within the trust that are outdated or void. Many trustees choose to hire a trust administration attorney to help them through this time and navigate these issues.

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Trust Administration Attorney in Berks County, PA  

No matter where you’re at in your estate planning, at Curran Estate & Elder Law, PLLC, we have experienced attorneys who are ready to help. We can assist you whether you’re starting from scratch and just want to discuss your options, already have a trust in place and need to make changes, or if you’re the named trustee and need legal support administering the trust. From our office in Berks County, we’re proud to serve those throughout Pennsylvania. Set up a meeting today.

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Client Success Stories

Very helpful. Staff genuinely cared about our needs.
Dan Clouser
October 26, 2022.
A delight to work with. Curran Estate Services are truly in the business of helping people!
Julie Krasley
September 29, 2022.
Very thorough. Friendly, compassionate, knowledgeable staff.
Ron Hirneisen
August 31, 2022.
5 Stars is not enough! If I could, I would give Curran Estate & Elder Law a 10-star review … and here is why: • They listen to you and your situation. The first question Sean asked me was, “How about we begin with you telling us about your family and the need for our services?” I had come to them as a caregiver for a spouse with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. Both of us were in need of Medical and Financial Powers of Attorney, Last Will & Testaments, and Living Wills. • They really do care about you and your family. The February day we were to meet with Sean to have the legal documents signed, a snowstorm began. Rather than have my homebound spouse go out in the weather, Sean, Lois, and Susan came to our home. The Curran Estate & Elder Law team takes a genuine interest in you. As we were going through the process of selecting persons to be our Powers-of-Attorney, the Curran Team wanted to know about each person we chose. • They know what they are doing. Sean and the Life Care Team reviewed our particular situation and made recommendations based upon our needs. They do not have a “one size fits all” approach to their work. • They communicate very well and explain things thoroughly. Each staff member is very good at explaining what each legal document means. • They completed the necessary work in a timely manner. In a surprisingly brief amount of time, we were notified that all the legal documents were complete and could be reviewed at our convenience. The Life Care Plan offers the expert services of the law firm plus a compassionate Elder Care Coordinator. I have leaned on the Elder Care Coordinator for helpful guidance and suggestions. I have received an immense amount of help from the Elder Care Coordinator when placing my loved one in various skilled nursing and memory care facilities. I am relieved in knowing I have the Elder Care Coordinator as a trustworthy guide through these days. For the last 18 months, by utilizing the services of Sean Curran and the Life Care Program Team, I have found relief and peace of mind in knowing that my loved one will be taken care of for the balance of her life. With gratitude, Rev. Paul L. Jones
Bahia Paw
July 20, 2022.
Fantastic top-notch law firm . They do professional and thorough work. They have fantastic and helpful work ethic. Great personalities and thoughtful. Our family feels protected and satisfied with the work Curran Law does. Thank you all.
james walker
May 31, 2022.
The entire Curran Estate and Elder Law team is fabulous! They are so kind, caring and patient. Not like your typical lawyers. Highly recommend them to help navigate the complex elder law and Medicare system.
Nancy Panza
May 10, 2022.
Suffering the loss of a loved one and having to deal with the probate process can be overwhelming. Gina was very professional and compassionate while helpng me through the process. What was becoming a nightmare for me was completely and quickly resolved. Everyone I came in contact with in the office was very kind and helpful.
Joanne Malys
May 5, 2021.
Sean deserves 10 stars ! But I can only give him 5 stars! He is caring & honest.. I am from out of state, and I needed help with elder care law concerning a family member. Sean returned all my phone calls and emails in a timely fashion. His prices were reasonable. I'd recommend Curran Estate & Elder Law to anyone who needs elder law services!
Ed K
March 18, 2021.
Extremely compassionate, knowledgeable and understanding during an extremely stressful, life changing event. Thank you for your patience and support.
March 8, 2020.
Curran Estate & Elder Law, PLLC

1212 Liggett Ave.
Reading, PA 19611

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