Many people who are asked by a family member of close friend to serve as the trustee of a trust are honored to be chosen and readily agree to take on the responsibility. If that describes your situation, it’s very likely you have no idea what you have just agreed to take on.
Acting as a trustee means that you are responsible for overseeing and directing what happens with the assets of the Trust.
As a Trustee, you have what is known as a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries of that trust. You must abide by trust laws in administering the trust, in addition to following the terms of the trust that set out your trustee duties.
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;
- Maintaining the trust accounting and paying any taxes or fees;
- Distributing assets or income to beneficiaries as outlined in the trust; and
- Reporting the accounting of trust assets, liabilities, receipts and disbursements to beneficiaries.
As a Trustee, you may find yourself involved with the probate process if some of the assets of the estate were not properly transferred into the trust. This process can be overwhelming to handle on your own, 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, call our office at (612) 206-3701 or fill out our contact form today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk.
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