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What is a trustee, their role, and duties?

On Behalf of | Nov 30, 2022 | Estate Planning, Trust Administration |

A trustee is a person who manages and administers trusts. In San Diego and elsewhere, trusts are legal arrangements that set out specific terms and conditions for an individual or group of people.

A trustee’s role is to ensure that all follow the trust’s terms and use the trust’s assets for the purposes specified in the trust agreement. A trustee must also protect the interests of the beneficiaries and keep records of their activities.

What is the role of a trustee?

There different types of trusts, and trustees can have different roles and responsibilities depending on the type of trust. For example, a revocable living trust may only require a trustee to administer and distribute assets. In contrast, an irrevocable trust may require more formalities, such as legal drafting and document preparation.

Regardless of their role, all trustees must ensure that the terms are followed. This trust administration includes notifying beneficiaries about changes to estate plans, filing appropriate tax documents, and maintaining accurate records.

Trustees have an important role in managing trusts and are responsible for the following:

  • Overseeing administration
  • Distributing distributions
  • Ensuring that terms of the trust are followed
  • Informing beneficiaries about changes

What are the duties of a trustee?

Trustees have several duties and responsibilities, including but not limited to the following:

  • Acting as an impartial fiduciary responsible for the long-term welfare of beneficiaries
  • Making decisions based on the best interests of the beneficiaries
  • Providing reports and updates to the trustees and beneficiaries
  • Fulfilling any other duties assigned by the trust document or court order

What can happen if a trustee fails to meet their duties?

There are several potential outcomes if a trustee fails to meet their duties. Suppose a trustee is unable to perform their duties. In that case, the court may appoint a substitute trustee who will have to meet all the responsibilities of the original trustee. If there is no substitute trustee available, then the court will appoint someone designated by the settlor(s) of the trust.