It’s no misnomer that a position with so much responsibility carries the name “trustee”. After all, you have been entrusted with a solemn responsibility and you no doubt want to do the best possible job.
Here are 10 things to do when you are appointed trustee of a trust:
1. Read the trust document
... which sets out the rules that govern how you will manage and administer the trust. Be sure you understand these rules completely.
2. Create a checking account for the trust
A separate checking account for the trust should be used to handle all expenses and income, and will enable you to track distributions and payments.
3. Keep the beneficiary’s best interests in mind
You have a fiduciary duty to all beneficiaries to perform your duties according to the law and in their best interest.
4. Do not borrow from the trust
You should never use the trust for your own personal needs.
5. Provide an annual report
You will owe an accounting at least annually to all beneficiaries and anyone else with an interest in the trust.
6. Invest the funds prudently
Diversify the portfolio among stocks and fixed income securities. Unless you are an investment professional, it is wise to get professional advice.
7. Understand the needs of the beneficiaries
Stay in regular contact with the beneficiaries so you understand their needs.
8. Be aware of any conflict with public benefits
Be sure you are aware of any beneficiary receiving public benefits to ensure any distribution does not disqualify them from those benefits.
9. File income tax returns
You are required to file an annual income tax return on behalf of the trust.
10. Get advice
You don't have to go it alone. Contact an estate planning attorney.
This article is a service of the Law Office of Keoni Souza, LLC, an estate planning law firm in Honolulu, Hawaii. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That's why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session, ™ during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by contacting our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session and mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.
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