ROLE OF A TRUSTEE
A Trustee is the person (or persons) that is responsible for all aspects of managing trust assets. Trustees come in several flavors. When you create your trust, you will serve as the initial trustee either by yourself or with someone else as a co-trustee. This co-trustee could be your spouse or partner, or possibly an adult child in situations where you want someone else to assist you with your finances while you are alive and well.
In the event you become mentally disabled and are no longer able to effectively manage your financial affairs, one or more disability trustees will step in and replace the initial trustees. Likewise, upon your demise, death trustees will step in and replace your initial trustees (or your disability trustees if there was a disability that preceded your passing).
The role of a trustee can be broken down into three separate legal responsibilities; administration, investment, and distributions.
Administration typically involves maintaining accurate financial records that document all funds that come into the trust or are distributed from the trust. It also involves maintaining an accurate accounting of trust assets, as well as making certain all applicable income tax and/or estate tax returns are prepared and filed in a timely manner.
Investment involves selecting a “fiduciary safe” investment model – in other words, an investment model that minimizes risk of loss, maximizes income and makes certain assets are available to address any financial needs. Distribution, as the name implies, simply refers to making distributions of trust funds to the various beneficiaries named in the trust in accordance with the trust instructions.