Similar to the executor’s role in an estate, a trustee manages trust assets, including investments and beneficiaries. Management of trusts may go on for many years, whereas management of an estate is short-lived and can take 12 months to 2 years.
The trustee’s primary responsibility involves following the instructions of the trust. Along with an accounting of paid expenses and the trust balance, trustees give regular reports to the trust beneficiaries. Trustees may hire outside professionals to assist which various aspects of managing the trust, such as consulting with an investment counselor to help diversify the trust’s investment portfolio or seeking advice from an estate planning attorney to interpret language in the trust documents. Trustees also distribute the trust’s income and principal as set out in the trust specifications.
A trustee may be called upon to act as a counselor when beneficiaries make requests of the trust. This person has the discretion of granting or denying distribution requests in accordance with the instructions outlined in the trust, and may have to say no if the request is too grand or beneficiaries have made simultaneous requests and granting all requests would affect the long-term goals of the trust.
Given the amount of responsibility a trustee must carry, it is important to choose someone who is both honest and dependable to serve as your trustee. This person doesn’t need to have specialized skills but they should be someone you trust to make good business decisions on your behalf.
To learn more about choosing the right trustee or to set up your own trust, contact the Law Offices of Kobrick & Moccia by calling 1-800-295-1917 today to schedule your appointment.