Your Responsibilities as a Trustee of an Estate

Your Responsibilities as a Trustee of an Estate

A trustee is a person who acts as a custodian for all the assets contained within a trust. This individual is tasked with administering and managing the money within the trust based on the given instructions. In many cases, the trustee is the person who creates the trust until they can no longer fill the role.

When this happens, a successor trustee takes over the tasks. Responsibilities can include everything from filing taxes on income the trust makes to recording income and expenses and distributing funds to the right people while keeping records of all transactions.

The largest role of a trustee is to ensure they act in the best interest of the trust. As such, it’s important to choose someone as a trustee who will put their own goals to the side while they follow the trust’s instructions.

The Responsibilities of a Trustee

As you can see, trustees have several responsibilities. However, the most important is to follow the directions of the trust. This is the key to protecting your legacy. You should realize that this role has a variety of requirements. We’ll share some of the most common below.

Acting as a Fiduciary

A fiduciary is someone who is held to the highest standards in terms of protecting the distribution and investments of the trust. Some people believe that the trustee should be more diligent with matters of the trust than they are with even their own financial accounts and investments.

Understand the Trust Terms

The assets within a trust should stay safe, so a trustee needs to be aware of the terms outlined in it. This person should be aware of who all beneficiaries are and review the records to ensure they are accurate and in good order.

Answer Questions

Answering beneficiary questions is a large part of being a trustee. It’s a trustee’s job to find out answers and then get that information to the person who asked quickly. Making sure the answers are correct and sent out to the right people is essential.

Tracking Records

Trustees will need to file and prepare tax returns but it doesn’t stop there. Trustees also need to keep all statements and records filed and organized so they can easily be looked at whenever needed.

If you have a trust that needs to be updated or you want to start a trust, speak with an attorney at Bell & Shah, who is experienced with this facet of law. Learn more about estate planning, including who to use as a trust for the best results.

What Is a Legal Description of Property Document?

What Is a Legal Description of Property Document?

Curious what a legal description of property document is? It’s a very short document, usually only about five sentences long, which describes a piece of real estate. In most cases, the legal description of property comes with a survey sketch as a visual way to determine the boundaries of a property.

This is an essential document in real estate transactions since it is a unique identifier to ensure everyone knows the details about the property that is being sold. A description of property is created by legal professionals but may be written in various ways depending on the property and its location.

What Is Included in the Document?

Several things must be included in legal descriptions of property. The following should be contained somewhere within the document:

  • Information about the subdivision, town, or county
  • The complete acreage of the real estate property
  • All of the defining features of the land
  • Where the exact boundary lines of the property can be found

As such, a legal description of property is not the same as the address of the property. While the address helps you find the property on a map, addresses can change. A legal description of property has the specific boundaries of the property and how much land is sold. While it can be more complicated and longer, it’s also more precise.

When Do You Need a Legal Description of Property?

The main time when a legal description of property is needed is when ownership of real estate is moved from one person to another. As such, the legal description is most often included in property deeds and signifies what piece of property is being described.

However, it will also be in sales contracts, mortgage papers, and other legal documents related to land. The main purpose of the legal description of property is to ensure everyone involved knows the boundaries of the real estate that is being sold. It is required to transfer the property to another owner.

In some cases, the legal description of property may also be used in disputes between neighbors over the boundaries of property. A surveyor will look at the description as a way to decide who is correct in the dispute.

If you need a legal description of property, The attorneys at Bell & Shah can help you with creating the document. It has exact boundaries and will be needed if you plan to sell a piece of property. Several methods can be used to determine the boundaries depending on the situation.

Why Parents Should Consider Creating an Estate Plan

Why Parents Should Consider Creating an Estate Plan

When preparing to have a first child, the number of things you need to do often seems endless. Everything from thinking about daycare to furnishing a nursery and buying a car seat can quickly fill a to-do list. Some of these things can be stressful but still worth it as you think about how your life is going to change.

However, one thing you may not have thought about is the need to make an estate plan. Making a will and naming guardians to care for the child also may be things you haven’t considered.

However, these are crucial steps to take in case tragedy hits your family while a child is still young. We’ll explain why having an estate plan is so essential below.

Opens Up Important Conversations

You may not have thought about who would raise your child if the worst happens. Or maybe you always assumed your parents would do so. However, these are only assumptions and things can change as time goes on. Grandparents might move away, have health issues, or otherwise be unable to step in if something terrible happens.

Having open conversations about your thoughts will help you make solid plans. These conversations might not be easy but they are essential. You’ll know who to name as guardian if you are unable to raise your child.

Avoids Court Battles

If you don’t have an estate plan and pass away, your loved ones who survive may argue about who should raise the child. In the worst case, this could result in a trip to the courtroom. When this occurs, a judge will be tasked with deciding who should take care of your child.

This can be stressful for everyone, especially a small child. The person you might have chosen to care for your child could end up losing. While appeals are possible, the winner is usually the person who was chosen by the first judge.

Prevents Fighting

Another thing people may fight about if you don’t have an estate plan is who gets your property, money, and more. An estate plan notes who gets what to avoid additional disputes if you pass away.

It’s best to have a will, a power of attorney, and a healthcare power of attorney to avoid any confusion. If you have not had an estate plan made and have a child on the way, reach out to the attornies at Bell & Shah today. It’s something you want to have available as soon as possible.

Important Notes When Creating a Severance Package

Important Notes When Creating a Severance Package

On the topic of worker benefits, employers are understandably more interested in discussing the advantages of working for their company rather than the benefits provided when employment ends. However, a well-designed severance package can produce long-term gains for businesses in terms of retaining employees, boosting worker morale, and enhancing the company brand even through difficult economic times.  The following are some actions that will help ensure you a successful severance package to fulfill your needs and provide equitable treatment for your workers.

1. Plan as Far in Advance as You Can

Avoid waiting until layoffs are about to happen.  Proactive planning will give you more time to make sure your severance policies line up with overall company goals; enlist legal guidance; and convey your policy so that workers know what to anticipate if layoffs occur.

2. Assess the Benefits of Your Present Severance Package

Consider what your current package offers.  According to a recent survey, only about half of employers have formal severance policies. In general, companies stress employee morale and invest a great deal of time and energy in ensuring that worker spirits remain high. To aid in this effort, starting or enhancing a severance package will convey an upbeat message to the workforce and thus improve morale.

3. Identify Your Company’s Goals in Having a Severance Policy

What factors are important to your company regarding a severance package?  Do they involve employee welfare; worker retention for possible rehire; having an appealing package to attract top-notch talent; or limiting your liability?  Severance packages come in many forms, and your company’s policy should be in line with your expected returns.

4. Construct an Official Severance Package Document

Generate a formal severance policy agreement that aligns with your company’s goals.  Severance packages can vary for individual employees based on seniority, job description, or management rank, but it’s essential to plainly convey the specific requirements for each type of package and guarantee they can be easily understood.

5. Be Consistent in Applying Your Policy’s Conditions

After the policy is created, avoid deviating from its conditions.  Workers talk to others who are either leaving the company or staying on, and opinions about unfairness can detract from the policy’s positive impact, possibly even leading to litigation.

6. Clearly Convey Your Severance Package to Employees

Avoid keeping your severance package hidden away in a file cabinet or in an obscure company computer folder; instead, publicize and promote it. Include it in materials for new hires and make it accessible on your intranet system.  You may even advertise your severance policy as a benefit or a form of compensation that reflects the company’s appreciation for service and its readiness to support workers transitioning to other jobs.

If you’re interested in developing a new severance package or in enhancing your current version, get in touch with us at Bell & Shaw Law, LLC today for a free consultation. Our knowledgeable business attorneys can assist you in creating a severance package that addresses the needs of both you and your workers.

How a Professional License Attorney Can Help Your Business

How a Professional License Attorney Can Help Your Business

Have you ever run into challenges regarding your occupational license? If so, you should be aware that a professional licensed attorney can help you. A professional, knowledgeable licensed defense attorney is the exact person you want at your side. However, you may want to know more about what this kind of attorney brings to the table.

What Is a Professional License Attorney

A professional license attorney is someone who practices administrative law. This refers to knowledge about the regulations and procedures used inside government agencies. Since occupational licenses are overseen by government entities, a professional license attorney offers assistance with these integral licenses

There are hundreds of job roles that require licensing, such as healthcare professionals, financial services representatives, and real estate agents.

Licenses are legally required for someone to work in certain fields. When there is an issue with a license, a government agency must be contacted to handle it. Professional lawyers can assist you in these situations.

Types of Work a Professional License Attorney Can Do

If you run a business with employees who are licensed, knowing a professional license attorney can come in handy. These lawyers help protect occupational licenses when there is a problem so the people with the license can continue to work.

In addition to overseeing licenses, government boards also determine disciplinary actions against those who have been charged with a crime, accused of professional misconduct, or indicted due to unethical behavior. License attorneys can represent license-holders during these times in several ways.

Application Appeals

In this situation, the attorney defends the license applicant if the license is denied. An educated and experienced licensed defense lawyer will defend someone after being denied or if a “statement of issues” was filed against them as a part of the process.

Discipline Defense

If someone with a license is facing discipline due to being accused of a crime, unethical behavior, or professional misconduct, professional license attorneys can help at this time. They will come to your defense to give you the best results.

Reinstatement Petitions

When someone has had a license but no longer has access to it, an attorney can help. They will represent the person who wants to go back into their career field if their license was revoked or suspended. Having someone with all the details on your side makes it easier to win the fight.

As a business owner, if licensing is required for your workers, having a professional license attorney available is a must. A competent and seasoned attorney will have experience handling situations like the ones above. Contact Bell & Shah, who can help you in your employees’ times of need.

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