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Avoiding Trustee Tripwires

TrusteeIf you have been appointed the trustee of a trust, this is a strong vote of confidence in your judgment and probity. It is also a major responsibility.

This is a conversation I have all the time with my clients but it bears repeating in this blog.  A trustee should be, first and foremost, a “trustworthy” person. A trustworthy trustee acknowledges the challenges and responsibilities of holding this position. Accordingly, if you are establishing a trust or being asked to engage as trustee under one, then you should give thorough consideration to the attending responsibilities and potential liabilities.

An article titled “A Brief Overview of a Trustee's Duties” is worth a look. The article offers eight crucial elements you need to understand and address, specifically: fiduciary responsibility, the trust’s terms, investment standards, distributions, accounting, taxes, delegation and fees. Essentially, you must fully appreciate that the role of a trustee is jointly moral, legal, and fiduciary.

You have a duty to the beneficiaries, a duty to the language of the trust (the express intent of the trust maker), and a duty to the assets themselves. This duty can be a treacherous tightrope to walk. If you are establishing a trust, understanding this means finding someone who would do as you would do, or better. And if you are a would-be trustee, understanding this means understanding your role and its rewards.

You can learn more about this topic as well as other strategies on our website under the tab entitled: estate planning in Virginia. Be sure you also sign up for our complimentary e-newsletter so that you may be informed of all the latest issues that could affect you, your loved ones and your estate planning.  However, proper estate planning is not a do-it-yourself project.  Why not call us for a complimentary consultation at 757-259-0707.  

ReferenceElderLawAnswers.com (May 2012) “A Brief Overview of a Trustee's Duties

 

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The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has taken our entire country by surprise. We understand how difficult this time is for America’s businesses and families.  However, we believe it is vitally important that we make every effort possible to continue to offer solutions that avoid disrupting our important partnership with you, your family and friends.  As you know, estate planning is not something that should wait for a more convenient time, therefore the opportunity to address your important goals both during and after this crisis should not wait.  To that end, we have added the option of a ‘virtual consultation’ to our office process.  You will now have a choice of either meeting with us in our office or in the comfort of your own home.