Richard Hellerman
Guarding Your Loved One’s Wishes 855.454.5529 Request A Free Consultation

Will Trustee

Wills and trusts are two of the most important estate planning documents. A will allows a person to memorialize his (or her) wishes as to what should happen with his property after he passes away, while a trust allows a person to move property into a trust that is managed by a trustee for the benefit of named beneficiaries. While a trust and will are separate estate planning vehicles, a trust can be created through a will. Such a trust is referred to as a will trust or a testamentary trust. To learn more about the benefits of creating a trust through your will, contract an experienced Chicago will trustee lawyer.


A trust is an arrangement created by a trustor that allows a trustee to hold assets transferred to the trust by the trustor for the benefit of a beneficiary. Trusts that are created and funded by the trustor during his lifetime may avoid probate. However, testamentary trusts are defined in a will and created through the will after the death of the trustor. The property that funds the trust is subject to probate.

Will Trustee

Typically the trustor names in his will the person he wants to serve as the trustee of the testamentary trustee. It is important that the trustee is someone who is trustworthy as that person will have the overall responsibility of managing the trust based on the terms of the trust documents. Trusts must be managed for the benefit of the beneficiaries named and not for the benefit of the trustee.

Trust Administration

Trust administration refers to the overall management of the trust, culminating with the transfer of the trust assets to the beneficiaries. Unlike probate and estate administration, trust administration is not a process that is supervised by the court. However, the duties of the trustee are similar to that of an executor. The trustee must collect the trust assets, manage them, invest trust property, and distribute them to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust document. To learn more about the trust administration process, contact an experienced Chicago will trustee lawyer who will help ensure that the process is completed as quickly and efficiently as possible, and in a manner that is consistent with the law.

It is important for the will trustee to understand that he must perform his trust administration duties in an ethical manner for the benefit of the trust beneficiaries. Failure to do so would be a breach of fiduciary duty and put the trustee in jeopardy of facing legal and financial liability.

Will Trust and Probate

Probate is the process that is managed by the executor of an estate that involves winding up the affairs of a loved one. The executor must collect estate assets, pay estate bills, and ultimately distribute assets to the beneficiaries based on the terms of the will. In Illinois probate typically takes between 6-12 months. During this time beneficiaries do not have access to property in the estate even though the decedent willed it to them. As a will trustee attorney in Chicago will explain, there are strategies to minimize the impact that probate has on beneficiaries and estate assets. One such strategy is to place the property in a trust. However, the trust cannot be a testamentary trust. It must be a trust that was created during the decedent’s lifetime.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

To understand the differences between a will trust and other types of trusts, contact a will trustee attorney serving Chicago. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have extensive experience helping clients with the creation and administration of trusts as well as other estate planning documents including wills and powers of attorney that help meet individual estate planning goals. Contact us at 855-454-5529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent individuals and estates throughout Chicago.

Client Reviews
"I’ve know Richard Hellerman for 30 plus years. I respect his judgement as well as his analytical mind. Have had the opportunity to see his high quality work as well as his unyielding dedication to his clients. Can’t recommend him enough." SB
Contact Us for a Free Consultation