Legal trusts can be difficult for the average person to understand. But no matter what type of trust your estate or your family member’s estate uses, the essentials remain the same. A trust is a legal entity established by a person (the grantor, settlor, or trustor) to benefit others (the beneficiaries). The trust is controlled or managed by a third person or entity called the trustee. Because the trustee is a fiduciary, this person has a great responsibility and several duties they are required to perform in this role. If you are concerned about trustee duties, working with experienced estate planning attorneys at The Millman Law Group can help you understand what every trust entails and what your responsibilities are.
Loyalty to Beneficiaries
The first of the five primary trustee duties is to remain loyal to the trust’s beneficiaries and make decisions with their interests in mind. As you properly administer the trust asset, the primary question should be whether your actions positively benefit the beneficiaries according to the wishes established by the grantor. Failure to do this can expose the trustee to damages caused by incorrect handling of the trust assets or improper trust administration.
Maintain Accurate Records
A trustee must keep the trust property separate from their own property. By maintaining this separation, they must also keep accurate records of the trust administration. These records help track every disbursement from the trust, so the trustee cannot be accused of mishandling the trust or its assets.
Trustees are fiduciaries and must always act in the best interests of the beneficiaries. This means one of the trustee duties is to act as prudently as possible when administering the trust. This includes exercising reasonable skill, caution, and care when administering the trust.
Enforce and Defend Claims
The trustee will be responsible for enforcing any claims the trust may have and for defending it against any claims brought by a person against the trust. Consulting with an experienced trust lawyer can help you navigate those scenarios.
Inform the Beneficiaries
A trustee must keep the beneficiaries informed of the trust administration. This includes providing annual accountancy and meeting deadlines for giving notice of trust acceptance. This also must include informing beneficiaries of their rights regarding the trust.
Depending on the specifics of the trust, the trustee may have many more duties required of them. If they fail to carry out their duties properly, the beneficiaries can sue the trustee for damages. Because the role of trustee is demanding, Florida law encourages a trustee to hire expert legal counsel and tax and accounting professionals to assist them in their duties. At The Millman Law Group, our attorneys are highly experienced in trust administration and all current laws related to managing estates.
Estate Planning Made Easy With Millman Law Group
Millman Law Group, PLLC is rare because it’s one of the only law firms that offer life planning in South Florida. From life care planning to the preparation of detailed estate plans, Millman Law Group has committed to serving Floridian elderly communities in Boca Raton, Palm Beach County, Ocean Ridge, Hillsboro Beach, and many other areas since 2018. Our dedicated team also specializes in special needs Trusts and catering to any age demographic because we know for certain it’s never too early to start preparing you and your family for your future. For the latest news in estate planning and elder care law, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and Pinterest. You can also contact us at 561-463-6480.