When you become an administrator of a trust in California, you may not initially realize how much responsibility you are taking on. It is important to understand your duties as a trustee and how you should administer the trust.
When you administer a trust, you are one of its fiduciaries. According to the American Bar Association, this means that you are responsible for carrying out all of the tasks associated with a trust. Sometimes these duties may be financial. You usually need to file the incomes taxes of the trust. It is important to make sure these taxes are paid on time, as you may sometimes be considered liable for the penalties of paying late. You also need to ensure that each beneficiary receives an income tax statement. All of the trust assets should usually be held in an investment account and you should generally look over the statements from this account at regular intervals. In some situations, you may need to invest certain assets. It can be beneficial to work with a financial professional to ensure that you handle these duties responsibly.
Additionally, you are typically responsible for distributing assets to the beneficiaries. This can include both property and cash. You usually need to ensure that taxes and other expenses associated with these assets are paid before handing them over to the beneficiaries.
If you decide you no longer want to be the fiduciary, you usually cannot just quit. Instead, you generally need to speak to the beneficiaries of the trust or a local court so you can be officially discharged. Sometimes a trust may not name a successor to your position. In this situation, a court typically needs to appoint a successor.
This information is general in nature. It should not be used in place of legal advice.