What is probate?
Probate is the court-supervised administration and distribution of the assets of a deceased person. You can appoint an Executor in your Will who will distribute the assets as you have directed in your Will. The Executor of the estate will take legal title to the assets of the estate, pay legal debts of the decedent, wind up the affairs of the decedent, and distribute the assets in accordance with the Will.
How should funeral expenses and valid debts of the decedent be paid?
The Personal Representative/Executor should pay these expenses from the decedent’s assets before making distributions under the Will.
What is a Trustee and what are the responsibilities of the Trustee of a Trust?
The operation and management of the trust is handled by the Trustee. The Trustee will manage the investments of the trust and make distributions to beneficiaries in accordance with the provisions of the governing trust document. Trust administration requires careful attention to the provisions of the trust document and detailed and accurate accountings to account for the Trustee’s actions. The Trustee is also responsible to file fiduciary income tax returns to report the trust income and pay any resulting tax.
Are there additional considerations for Trustees of Trusts with foreign beneficiaries?
Yes. Dealing with laws of more than one nation is complex, it is important the Trustee is properly advised to ensure compliance with all of the Trustee’s responsibilities and to avoid any traps. For example, civil law countries typically do not recognize the concept of a trust which can result in complex legal or tax issues. For example, the country where the beneficiary is a resident may require the Trustee to make a special filing to report the trust. In other countries, the resident beneficiary may be responsible to pay tax on their share of the trust even though the beneficiary has not received a distribution from the trust. There also may be tax planning opportunities by making distributions to foreign beneficiaries.
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