Does a Living Trust Automatically Pass Wealth to the Beneficiaries?

While the passage of property from a trust to beneficiaries is far easier than the passage of property from a probate estate to beneficiaries, it is still not an automatic process. There are volumes full of laws governing the duties and responsibilities of a Trustee in the administration and distribution of a trust estate. Most Settlors appoint family members or close personal friends to serve as Trustees because these are the people that the Settlors trust to handle their affairs. Although these Trustees are generally very trustworthy, they are also more often than not inexperienced and entirely unaware of the myriad of laws governing trusts and the passage of wealth from trusts. These Trustees can expose themselves to great personal liability to damaged beneficiaries if they breach a duty in the administration of the trust, whether the breach is intentional or not. Therefore, it is always wise for a Trustee to consult and retain an attorney to provide advice, assistance and support in the administration of the trust rather than trying to do it completely alone.