Proper estate planning typically includes a number of different estate planning tools and strategies. One of the most commonly used estate planning tools is a trust agreement, often referred to as a revocable living trust. A trust is a private document that allows you to direct how your assets should be managed during your lifetime and after you passing with our court involvement. One of the most important decisions you will make when creating your trust is who to appoint as the Trustee. Commonly, people will mistakenly appoint someone close to them to be the Trustee without stopping to consider if the person is really the best person for the job. This is often the result of a failure to understand all of the various duties and responsibilities of a Trustee. To help ensure that you don’t make the same mistake, the attorneys at Morris Hall PLLC can help you understand the role of a Trustee.
Trustee Duties and Responsibilities
A Trustee has a wide variety of duties and responsibilities, many of which requires basic. A few of the most common duties and responsibilities of a Trustee include:
- Manage trust assets -- a Trustee must be familiar with all trust assets and prudently manage them at all times. Managing trust assets can mean anything from reconciling bank statements to ensuring that maintenance and upkeep occur on real property.
- Abide by the trust terms unless they are impossible, illegal, or unconscionable – a Trustee must read the trust and make sure he/she understands all of its terms. The terms of the trust must be carried out objectively without regard for the Trustee’s personal opinions.
- Communicate with trust beneficiaries – in many cases, current and future beneficiaries have a right to know how the trust is being managed. It is the Trustee’s duty to keep those beneficiaries informed.
- Distribute trust assets to beneficiaries – A trustee has a duty to distribute trust assets in accordance with the trust terms.
- Keep detailed trust records – a Trustee has a duty to account to trust beneficiaries, and should always keep detailed records of all trust business to avoid personal liability and/or problems with the beneficiaries.
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns about selecting a Trustee, please contact an experienced estate planning attorney at Morris Hall PLLC by calling 888-222-1328 to schedule your appointment today.