What Is an Acceptance of Office by Trustee?

An acceptance of office by a trustee is the mutual understanding that a person has with an estate that implies they will assume administrative duties after being nominated. Acceptance of office by trustee is basically a formal way of giving consent to serve as a trustee. The formal method of accepting the office by the trustee is outlined within the trust itself. After being nominated, a trustee may decline to serve but cannot decline after accepting, nor delegate the responsibility.

Key Takeaways

  • An acceptance of office by a trustee is a formal consent a trustee has with an estate to administer the affairs of a trust.
  • The time period and conditions for acceptance of an offer by trustee vary between states.
  • The agreement usually includes official paperwork for the new trustee and resignation or termination paperwork for the current trustee.
  • Individuals can choose to not accept the offer by formally declining the offer or by not responding to the offer within a certain timeframe.

Understanding Acceptance of Office by Trustee

Acceptance of office by trustee refers to a trustee, who is a person or institution who has legal title to hold property on behalf of the recipient. They act on behalf of the beneficiary and are allowed to make decisions based on their professional criteria and best judgment. A trustee may be aware of their nomination and informally agree to the position, but a formal acceptance of office is necessary in order to move forward with the duties of the office.

The acceptance of the office may include official paperwork for the new trustee as well as resignation or termination paperwork for the current trustee to dissolve their duties. Often, the contract will include three aspects at once: to serve as an agreement of appointment, acceptance of the office, and resignation. The purpose of this kind of contract is to ensure a smooth and time-efficient transition.

Once they accept office, many trustees serve on a voluntary basis without receiving payment for their work. Some of their duties include handling a trust's affairs, ensuring that it is solvent and well managed, and delivering the outcomes and benefits that were originally set out for the trust.

Trustees also prepare reports on the trusts and make sure that the trust complies with the law, among many other responsibilities.

What Happens If There Is No Acceptance of Office?

An individual who has been nominated for trustee but does not accept the office within a reasonable time frame may be considered as rejecting the trusteeship, even if no formal rejection is made. The precise rules for acceptance of office by a trustee can vary by state.

A nominated trustee may also take action for the trusteeship but not formally accept it. For example, they may look into the trust property further to ensure legal adherence and liability or act to preserve the trust property if the nominated individual sends the rejection to a qualified beneficiary.

Example of Acceptance of Office by a Trustee

Generally, the offer made to a trustee includes important information relating to a trust, such as the name of the trust, the date it was created, an article within the trust naming a successor, the name and the date of death of the trust creator, the acknowledgment and acceptance of the trustee, a space for the signature, and the date on which the acceptance was made and the form was signed.