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The three core responsibilities of a trustee

If you are a trustee, you may have a lot of questions about your role. As a trustee, you are the legal owner of the assets in the trust. Your core responsibility is to handle all manners involving the assets, including distributing them to beneficiaries.

Although you may feel overwhelmed and confused right now, being a trustee does not need to be scary. Your duties mostly fall into three main categories: management, investment and distribution. 

1. Managing assets

The first thing you need to do is ensure all the assets are secure and in your control. Then, make sure you understand the trust terms and who the heirs are. After that, your primary concern will be taxes. You will need to prepare and file income tax returns for the trust. This involves adhering to necessary state and federal trust administration laws. As you do this, make sure you maintain accurate records.

2. Investing assets

You are also responsible for preserving assets and earning income for beneficiaries. The main way to accomplish this is through investment. How much and when you invest will depend on the desires of the grantor and the needs of the beneficiaries, current or future.

3. Distributing assets

Another critical duty is administering assets according to the terms of the trust. You will oversee the distribution of trust income and property. You should accomplish this in a responsible and timely manner. 

This is just a simple overview of your core responsibilities. You may encounter various issues along the way. One essential thing to remember is to keep open lines of communication with beneficiaries. You will want to update them on tax reports and account statements. By keeping up with beneficiaries, you will show them you are trustworthy and avoid any disputes. Now that you know your main responsibilities, hopefully, your role as a trustee makes more sense. If you have more questions, you should contact a probate attorney.

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