Duties Of A Trustee
At some point in your estate planning, you’ll need to choose who will serve as personal representative or agent. If you’re establishing a trust, of course, you’ll need a trustee. When it comes time to name names, will you know what qualities to look for in a trustee based on their responsibilities?
Willingness To Commit
A trustee may be called upon keep a testator’s business operating during probate, collect and manage trust assets, arrange for disposition of real property, or make loans. Look for a trustee who is willing and able to commit the time and energy needed to get the job done.
Many trustee responsibilities revolve around meeting deadlines or handling money. When your trustee is required to make deposits, enter into leases, or exercise tax elections, you’ll want someone who is reliable. Your trustee should be someone you can rely on to tackle problems head on and head off potential risks or liabilities.
Trustees deal with assets like money and property. More importantly, they will be disbursing money to your beneficiaries and possibly paying benefits to a disabled or incapacitated loved one. The person you choose needs to have the integrity to take care of trust assets and beneficiaries in an honest way. You want someone who can keep their hands out of the cookie jar!
Depending on the size and type of your estate, your trustee may exercise great power. Typical duties might include making property deals, taking on the rights of a stock owner, or even abandoning property when that’s best for the trust. A trustee should be able to make decisions when needed and be strong enough to stand behind those decisions if necessary.
The trustee’s job is to act in the best interests of the trust and its beneficiaries. A good trustee remains impartial, especially if disputes arise between beneficiaries. Just because the trustee likes Beneficiary A better than Beneficiary B doesn’t mean he can show favoritism to one over the other.
The trustee has to gather assets, safeguard them, manage them, then make distributions according to the terms of the trust document. In addition, records must be kept in good shape. Organizational skills are important, especially if the trust property is extensive.
Choose The Right Trustee For These Duties
Just because someone is your friend or favorite aunt doesn’t mean they will make a good trustee. Talk to an estate planning attorney before setting up a trust or choosing a trustee.
To discuss your concerns with an experienced Arizona lawyer, call us at (480) 418-8448 or check out one of our free seminars. We offer services for clients throughout Arizona, including Chandler, Gilbert, Sun Lakes, Tempe, Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, and Apache Junction.