The Duties and Powers of a Trustee

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Estate Planning Attorney St. Peters, MO

A trustee of a living trust must always act in the best interest of the trustor. The trustee is responsible for managing the trust property, in addition to upholding certain legal obligations to beneficiaries. A trustee without any experience may want to talk with an attorney who is familiar with estate legalities, as support as tasks related to the role are performed.

A trustor often appoints an either themselves, a loved one, or family member as the trustee. In situations where the trustor listed themselves as a trustee, they remain in control of their assets. If the trustor chooses someone else solely as the trustee, then he or she is releasing the trust property to this individual instead of themselves.

Q: Are there rules in which the trustee in required to follow?

A: The trustee must abide by the instructions as written by the trustor, unless the directions are unethical or impossible. The trustee is to abide by state laws and decisional laws established by the courts. A trustee that does not read the trust thoroughly, may accidentally commit an error in regards the trustor’s wishes. The trustee is to confirm that the trust entails two kinds of provisions:

#1 Administrative Provisions – this governs what the powers are of the trustee, rules for interpreting the trust, payments of taxes or expenses, and other procedures.

#2 Dispositive Provisions – this governs how the trustor wants the property to be distributed among beneficiaries.

Q: What are the basic responsibilities of the trustee?

A: The trustee is to safeguard, collect, and manage trust assets. The trustee is to also file the trustor’s tax returns and pay any dues from the trust funds directly. If the trustee does not take care of the trust in a respectful and compassionate manner, the beneficiaries may file a complaint to the courts. Anytime that a trustee is confused about a role or doesn’t understand legal terminology, it is recommended that they get help from an estate planning attorney St. Peters, MO relies on. The basic duties include but may not be limited to:

  • The trustee is to be dedicated to the best interests of the trustor’s wishes and assigned beneficiaries
  • The trustee is to fulfill the position and uphold a duty of care to beneficiaries.
  • The trustee must manage the trust only in the interest of beneficiaries, and dealings with them are to remain impartial.
  • The trustee must take precautions to maintain control of the trust property, safeguard the assets, and play a productive role in its management.
  • The trustee is to not mix the property within the trust, with his or her own personal property.
  • The trustee under no circumstances is able to use the trust property for one’s own benefit or profit.
  • The trustee is to not participate in a transaction that will cause a conflict of interest among beneficiaries.
  • The trustee is to take acceptable steps towards defending the trust in the event of a lawsuit or claim.
  • The trustee is not permitted to delegate tasks to others, and must perform the tasks associated with the role themselves.

Contact Legacy Law Missouri for their insight into estate planning and the duties and powers of a trustee.