A trustee is a person that the creator, or grantor, of a trust puts in charge of it. It is a fiduciary position, meaning that the trustee has an obligation to act in the interest of the trust’s beneficiaries.
Administering one’s trust is a position of enormous responsibility. Here are some of the specific duties that a trustee must carry out.
Marshal assets in a trust
According to the American Bar Association, to marshal assets means to take control of them. Therefore, one of the first things that a trustee has to do upon taking responsibility for a trust is to locate and access all the assets contained in a trust. In some cases, the trustee has to file a claim with an insurance company to get to the assets. In other cases, the trustee can have access right away.
Once the trustee has access to all the assets, the next step is to have them valued to find out their worth. This may require the trustee to hire a professional appraiser for accuracy.
Review requests for funds
A trust can have one beneficiary or several, and ordinarily, the terms of the trust will include instructions for the beneficiaries to receive payments in a certain amount on a regular basis. However, according to Kiplinger, sometimes a beneficiary may make requests for funds. If so, the trustee has a responsibility to review the request and decide whether to deny or approve it based on the terms of the trust and the interests of the beneficiary.
The trustee has a responsibility to invest the assets in a trust wisely so that they will generate more interest. This is important to maintain income to beneficiaries until the distribution of the principal.
It may be possible to take legal action against a trustee who does not live up to his or her responsibilities.