Whenever a person dies, his or her property needs to be collected and distributed to heirs. Estate administration involves gathering the assets of the estate, paying the decedent’s debts, and distributing the remaining assets to heirs.
Trust Administration consists of managing the assets of a trust according to the terms of a written Trust document. A trust comes into existence when it is “funded” — that is, when the title of assets is placed in the name of the trust.
A will appoints someone to be responsible for gathering and distributing the assets (the “personal representative”), defines who will receive the assets (the “beneficiaries”), and directs how the process will proceed. The process begins after the will has been “admitted to probate” and is supervised by the Probate Court.
In general, a trust is a place where people (“grantors” or “settlors”) place assets to be managed by trustees. There are many kinds of trusts and most, but not all, are created by a written document and the transfer of assets to the trust.
Most states do not have a land trust statutes. Florida is an exception. Initially, land trusts limited trustees of a land trust to banks or licensed trust companies. Subsequently, the Florida legislature expanded this role to individuals, corporations, partnerships and LLCs. Additionally, anyone can be the beneficiary and owner of the land trust.