Has a close friend or beloved relative designated you as the trustee of one or more trusts? If so, it is wise to know what is expected of you as a trustee.
The administration of a trust involves completing many detail-oriented tasks. Even a seemingly simple mistake on the part of trustees can result in hardships for the beneficiaries of the trust assets.
What do trustees do?
Those named as trustees must be careful not to confuse trust administration with will execution. Although the two roles have several responsibilities in common, they are different from one another.
The execution of a typical will usually ends after the executor locates and distributes assets and pays the debts and taxes left by the decedent. In contrast, trust administration can go on for years or decades, depending on the trustee’s duties and responsibilities outlined in the document. For example, the trustee may need to invest funds and perform other long-term critical financial tasks.
Do trustees need help?
Trustees with a legal or financial background might be able to fulfill their role without assistance. However, guidance from an estate planning professional ensures you avoid mistakes while doing all you can to protect the assets held in the trust.
Other benefits of trust administration guidance include the following:
- Ensuring the decedent’s final wishes are realized
- Locating and implementing tax breaks and savings
- Finding effective ways to avoid or simplify probate proceedings
Professional help also ensures that you follow the laws that govern trust administration in California. Since each state has different regulations for the administration of trusts, this is one of the most valuable benefits of legal assistance.