Information to Give the Trustee of Your Estate
October 1st, 2013
What Information You Need to Give the Trustee of Your Estate
One key job of a trust lawyer is to help their clients choose who will be responsible for the trust that has been set up. The trustee has several very important jobs, and things will go smoother if he or she is aware of these responsibilities up front. Here are a few key points that should be shared with a trustee in order to administer the trust with as little difficulty as possible when the time comes.
One Reason “Trust” Is So Important in the Word “Trustee”
In order to ensure that the trust administration goes according to plan, the trustee should review the document that set it out in the first place. It makes sense to do this while the person creating the trust is still alive so you can discuss the true intentions behind the trust. Both parties may choose to sit down with the trust lawyer in order to talk through any confusing points. When it comes time to administer the trust, the trustee will have valuable insight on what was originally intended and how to bring those goals about.
Along those same lines, it’s the trustee’s responsibility to ensure he or she is acting in the best interests of the beneficiaries. If there’s a question about how to best manage the assets, the attorney can be brought in for advice and to make sure decisions being made are in line with the state and federal laws. For this reason, it’s imperative to choose a trustee who not only has good business sense but who is also extremely trustworthy. He or she should understand the trust is not for personal gain and needs to be able to withstand temptation to use the trust for his or her own benefit.
Keeping Track of the Trust
The trustee’s main focus should be to manage the assets of the trust in the most effective way possible. This may mean investing money in smart ways. It’s also their job to distribute funds to beneficiaries when appropriate. One of the easiest things the trustee can do to keep track of the funds is to open a checking account for the trust. Any money that comes in or goes out of the trust can go through this checking account, creating an easy-to-see method for tracking income and expenses.
As an added safeguard, the trustee should provide an annual accounting of the trust to the beneficiaries. This allows them to understand how the trust is being managed. It may also be appropriate to provide this information to the trust lawyer or other legal entity. Keeping in regular contact with the beneficiaries ensures they’re benefitting appropriately from the funds and also develops a relationship of trust between all parties involved.