Anyone who has recently been appointed in the role of trustee needs to understand the action steps they must take in order to comply with the terms of the trust as well as any relevant state laws. This can help to avoid future potential disputes and liability issues facing that trustee.

A trustee who has been appointed to manage and distribute assets inside a revocable or irrevocable living trust has a fiduciary duty or responsibility to uphold the terms of the trust and to represent the best interests of the beneficiaries.

There are many different duties associated with this responsibility, which is why many people choose a trusted family member, friend or even corporate trustee to handle these roles. The trustee needs to carefully read any trust provisions to determine circumstances in which they may be required to provide notice to co-trustees, successor trustees or beneficiaries. For example, trusts often require notice if a trustee wants to delegate powers to another trustee, designate a successor trustee, or resign their responsibility. Other trusts may include explicit instructions to give beneficiaries rights of withdrawal out of new contributions to the trust, or after that beneficiary has achieved a particular age.

A trustee should always review these provisions carefully and make sure that notice has been provided to beneficiaries about these withdrawal rights. Similarly, there are often requirements in those trusts that authorize a trustee to name a professional investment advisor to give beneficiaries notice of this action. Make sure that you choose someone who is not only comfortable with serving in this role, but capable of reading through these provisions and doing everything possible to handle the next steps. Our Pasadena estate planning lawyers are here to help.

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