If you are responsible for managing and administering trust assets, you may be looking for advice. Taking on the role of trustee can be intimidating and confusing at times. Of course, you want to do your best to honor the creator of the trust and beneficiaries.
Being a good trustee helps you avoid disputes with heirs and makes the estate administration process go smoothly. Here are some guidelines for how to fulfill your duties as a trustee.
1. Communicate with beneficiaries
Consistent and clear communication with beneficiaries is crucial. If people feel out of the loop or like they cannot trust you, they may start to pursue trust litigation. Listen to the concerns of heirs, discuss the process with them and be empathetic. Make sure you have routine conversations with the people who will benefit from the trust. Sending emails and text messages are sufficient in certain circumstances, but picking up the phone or even meeting in-person can go a long way.
2. Maintain familiarity with the terms of the trust
Another vital task you must pursue is familiarizing yourself with the trust documentation. Not only should this be one of the first things you do, but you must be diligent in adhering to the terms in every action you take. Do not lose sight of the trust document when making decisions.
3. Keep your finances separate
You must be careful when dealing with the assets and money in the trust. Never mingle your own assets with the trust. Keep separate accounts and investments for the trust. In addition, be mindful of never using trust assets to benefit yourself. If beneficiaries suspect you are enriching yourself or misusing the trust, they may take legal action against you.
Administering a trust may seem like a daunting responsibility, but you can carry out your duties with the right help.