Setting up a trust is a great way to ensure your loved ones will be provided for in the event of your death. However, there are many responsibilities and duties imposed on trustees, and adhering to all of them can be challenging without the help of an attorney.
Duties of a Trustee
Each trust appoints a trustee, who holds the title to another person’s assets and is in charge of managing and distributing those assets to beneficiaries. Being a trustee is a huge responsibility, and failing to live up to your duties could put you in substantial legal trouble. Some of the duties that a trustee must fulfill include:
- Preparing and filing a tax return for the estate
- Implementing a federal estate tax plan
- Assessing and gathering trust assets
- Updating the trust to provide continuity for a surviving spouse and/or other beneficiaries
- Providing guidance to a successor trustee
- Distributing assets as in accordance with the trust
The duty trustees owe to trust beneficiaries is called a fiduciary duty, and it’s the highest duty recognized by law. Abuse of this duty or failure to uphold this duty, whether intentionally or accidentally, can be a difficult matter to resolve.
Administering A Trust
Once the death of the grantor occurs, the administration of the assets in his or her trust may begin. Depending on the circumstances of the trust, the assets may be transferred to beneficiaries right away or the appointed trustee may manage the assets for some time. In some instances, certain conditions may need to be met before a beneficiary can receive assets from the trust.
How A Lawyer Can Help
An experienced trust administration lawyer can take the entire burden of being a trustee off your shoulders. Not only do trusts have complex tax requirements, but administering assets to beneficiaries can also be time consuming and complicated. Working with a lawyer is the best way to ensure all your duties are fulfilled and the grantor’s wishes are followed.
Hensley Krueger LLP: Houston Trust Administration Lawyers
Being appointed a trustee is an honor, but it is also a responsibility. Our lawyers can help you administer a trust to ensure you are living up to your duties and adhering to the grantor’s wishes. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.