Are You Facing A Call To Action As A Successor Trustee?
If you are a close family member or friend who suddenly has to assume the responsibilities of successor trustee upon the death of the grantor, it is wise to speak with an unbiased and experienced trust attorney about your duties for trust management and distribution of the trust.
Seek Professional Assistance Early
The terms of the trust agreement often allow successor trustees to hire an attorney, financial adviser or an accountant for assistance with trust administration. At minimum, a successor trustee must:
- Issue notices to the beneficiaries
- Maintain the trust accounts and assets
- Invest and otherwise protect the trust assets from waste
- Keep records of trust accounting
- Ensure taxes are properly addressed
- Communicate regularly with the beneficiaries
- Distribute the trust assets to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust
A successor trustee is personally liable for losses to the trust or noncompliance with their fiduciary duties. This is the reason it is vital to be clear on what your role and duties are as successor trustee as soon as possible.