So You've Been Named As A Trustee Of A Trust. Now What?
If you have been asked by a family member or close friend to serve as the trustee of a trust, you probably feel honored that the trust owner feels confident about your ability to undertake this important responsibility. And it’s very likely you have no idea what this commitment means. Being a trustee means that you are responsible for all oversight and direction of the assets of the Trust. As a trustee, you have what is known as a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries of that trust. There are laws you must abide by in administering the trust, in addition to the terms of the trust that set out your duties as trustee. A trustee’s duties include, but are not limited to:
Administering the trust according to its terms
Communicating with beneficiaries about the various activities of the trust
Investing and managing trust assets in a prudent manner
Accounting for and paying any taxes or fees
Distributing assets to beneficiaries as outlined in the trust
Making an accounting of trust assets, liabilities, receipts and disbursements to beneficiaries.
As a Trustee, you may find yourself involved with the probate process at some point and have to go into Court to marshal assets. If some of the assets of the estate were not properly transferred into the trust, this process can be overwhelming, especially if you do not have prior experience in this area. Thankfully, with a good lawyer on board, you do not have to navigate this process alone. Engaging experienced legal help is always the best option for trustees, with the trust being responsible for any fees incurred for legal services. If you would like some guidance on trust administration or planning for smooth administration of an estate, contact our office today at (727) 537-6818 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk. Mention this article and we will waive our planning session fee.