Virginia Trust Administration Lawyer

Trusts could be used to accomplish many goals in Virginia estate planning. However, the increasing variety and complexity of trusts could make them difficult to manage in compliance with state and federal laws.

A Virginia trust administration lawyer could help with a range of trust management tasks or provide advice on how to administer an account. Working with an experienced trusts and estates lawyer could also help ensure that fiduciary duties and other administrative duties are completed properly and economically.

Misconceptions About Trusts

Administering a trust can be daunting for those who do not understand how they function and what the duties of a trustee are. Some believe a trust is a type of account with a bank or brokerage firm. While trusts can hold such accounts, the trust itself is a legal entity.

Any adult in Virginia can create a trust, regardless of the value of their assets, though it is a common misconception that trusts are only for the wealthy. Many estate plan include at least one or more types of trusts.  The creator of the trust, sometimes called the grantor, contributes property into the trust. The trustee manages the property, and the person who receives the benefits from the property is called the beneficiary.

Traditionally, the grantor, trustee, and beneficiaries would be separate individuals, although some trusts are set up so that the same person holds multiple roles. In that case, the person putting their property into the trust would retain control of the property and receive the benefits from it. A Virginia trust administration attorney could serve as a trustee or provide advice on managing the trust in accordance with legal obligations.

Duties of a Trustee

The Virginia code contains an article explaining the duties and powers of a trustee, starting at Va. Code Ann. §64.2-763. This section specifies that a trustee must administer the trust in “good faith” and in the best interests of the beneficiaries. This statute also requires a trustee to manage the assets in compliance with the Uniform Prudent Investor Act and the Uniform Principal and Income Act.

A Virginia trust administration legal professional could help with daily decision making for trust management or provide guidance when concerns arise. Regarding the duties of a trustee, an attorney could assist with:

  • The duty of loyalty (Va. Code Ann. §64.2-764)
  • Showing impartiality to respective interests of beneficiaries (Va. Code. Ann. §64.2-§765)
  • Prudent administration, exercising reasonable care, skill and caution (Va. Code Ann. §64.2-766)
  • Cost management (Va. Code Ann. §64.2-767)
  • Use of special skills or expertise (Va. Code Ann. §64.2-768)
  • Keeping adequate records (Va. Code Ann. §64.2-772)
  • Keeping trust property separate (Va. Code Ann. §64.2-772)

In addition, Va. Code Ann. 64.2-773 imposes a duty to enforce claims that the trust could have against others and to defend claims made against the trust. An attorney could manage both enforcement and defense of the trust’s interests.

Contact a Virginia Trust Administration Attorney for Advice

Whether you have only a few questions about trust administration, or are starting from scratch and need to devise a plan of action, it could be beneficial to consult a knowledgeable trust administration lawyer in Virginia. The administration of a trust requires compliance with state laws, federal laws and tax regulations that can be easier to navigate with legal counsel.

Mistakes in trust management could lead to personal liability, so it is crucial to understand obligations and how to remain compliant. To learn more about how a trust administration attorney could help, call for a consultation today.