The role of a trustee is to manage assets left in trust to beneficiaries of the estate. The trustee and executor have different roles; however, it is possible that the same person can be named to fulfill both responsibilities.
The primary responsibilities of a trustee include:
- Carry out and administer the provisions set forth in the trust document.
- Maintain loyalty to trust beneficiaries.
- Exercise diligence and care in managing the trust assets.
- Always segregate trust assets from the trustee's personal assets.
As with the executor relationship, choosing a trustee means choosing someone that you trust. This does not mean that the trustee necessarily has to be an individual; you may choose a financial institution with a trust department (usually considered a "corporate trustee"). As you might expect, choosing a corporate trustee may involve higher costs but with that you should expect more knowledge and familiarity with being a trustee.
Also, note that a person can also elect two or more trustees if the situation requires and that trustees can be removed for breaching their fiduciary duties.
Managing WealthIgnorance and incompetence can cost you money. Make sure your trustee is up to the task.
Managing WealthThere are many cases of trusts being mismanaged, so find out how to make sure yours is on the right track.
Managing WealthYou don't have to be rich to make use of a trust fund. Rules can be complex; here's what you'll need to discuss with your lawyer.
Financial AdvisorSeveral improvements and additional provisions have been added to irrevocable trusts in recent years making them considerably more versatile than before.
RetirementNo, they're not just for the super-rich. But you need to know the rules.
Managing WealthIf you or someone you love has a disability, these trusts can help ease the cost of care.
Financial AdvisorIncentive trusts can motivate beneficiaries to accomplish constructive goals, but they can also end up creating dilemmas.
Financial AdvisorTrust funds are often established to protect children in the event that their parents are not able to provide for them. Here are some common errors to avoid.
Financial AdvisorRevocable living trusts accomplish estate planning objectives that aren't possible with a will. Here are some of the cases that show when to use a trust.