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I Was Named Trustee… Now What?

At some point in your life, you might find yourself asked to take on the role of trustee. Before you make a decision, it’s crucial to understand the duties and responsibilities that come with this position.

When someone includes a trust in their estate plan, they appoint a trustee who will be responsible for carrying out the trust’s terms after their passing. If you accept the role of trustee, here are some of the key duties and responsibilities you may be entrusted with:

  1. Reviewing the trust terms:  Familiarize yourself with the provisions outlined in the trust document—words matter. Understanding the wishes and intentions of the person who created the trust, the grantor, is essential to fulfilling your role effectively.
  2. Managing and investing trust assets:  As a trustee, you may be responsible for managing and investing trust assets until they are distributed to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust. This requires making prudent investment decisions and ensuring the assets are properly safeguarded.
  3. Communication with beneficiaries:  Maintain open and clear communication with the trust beneficiaries. Keeping them informed about the trust’s progress and addressing their questions or concerns can help foster transparency and trust.
  4. Distributing trust assets:  Carry out the distribution of trust assets to the beneficiaries in accordance with the trust provisions. This may involve coordinating with financial institutions and other professionals to ensure a smooth transfer of assets.
  5. Resolving conflicts:  Sometimes conflicts arise between beneficiaries or other parties involved in the trust. As a trustee, you may be responsible for mediating and resolving these conflicts in a fair and impartial manner.
  6. Record-keeping:  Maintain accurate and detailed records of all trust-related activities, including financial transactions, communications, and decisions made. This documentation is crucial for transparency and may be required for legal and accounting purposes.
  7. Making important decisions:  Act in the best interests of the beneficiaries and exercise your fiduciary duty by making important decisions when necessary. This may include managing trust investments, making distributions, or addressing unforeseen circumstances.

Taking on the role of trustee is a significant responsibility, and it’s essential to be well-prepared. One of the best steps you can take to navigate this role successfully is to consult with a trust administration attorney.

At Kinghorn Law | Financial, we specialize in working closely with trustees, providing guidance and support throughout the process. Contact us at 520.529.4000 or info@kinghornlaw.com for more information and professional assistance. With the help of a knowledgeable attorney, you can gain a clear understanding of your duties and responsibilities as a trustee, avoid common pitfalls, and ensure a smooth and efficient administration of the trust.

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