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Heritage Tree LogoWhat Are the Responsibilities of a Trustee?

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When you are assembling your trust agreement as part of your estate plan, you will undoubtedly have to include who you appoint as your trustee. This appointment may be of an individual whom you trust or even a corporate trustee (i.e., a bank’s trust department). But regardless of who this may be, they have a significant duty to fulfill. Read on to discover what the responsibilities of a trustee are and how one of the seasoned Butler County trust attorneys at Heritage Elder Law & Estate Planning can help ensure that this is properly executed.

What responsibilities does a trustee hold in estate planning?

As a grantor, you will want to make sure that you give your appointed trustee the legal authority and admission to all of your trust property (i.e., money, real estate, investments, personal possessions, etc). This will allow your trustee to pass along your trust property to your beneficiaries as you desire.

So once you have, unfortunately, passed on, your trustee’s first responsibility is to identify, secure, and inventory your trust property, along with its associated documents. Then, they will have to produce your trust’s taxes and create a reliable investment approach. After this, they will start allocating your assets to your beneficiaries in the way it is expressed in your trust.

With that being said, the other responsibilities of a trustee are as follows:

  • A trustee must pay for inspections of land or other valuable assets to understand the extent of the trust’s assets.
  • A trustee must serve as a reliable source of information for the beneficiaries of your trust.
  • A trustee must deal with the beneficiaries of your trust impartially.
  • A trustee must deal with attorneys, accountants, and financial planners impartially.
  • A trustee must avoid conflicts of interest between your wishes and your beneficiaries’ wishes.

What if a trustee does not meet their expected responsibilities?

As you may assume from the above, the job of a trustee is not a simple one. And so, the state of Pennsylvania allows you to include a charging clause in your trust so that your trustee can be compensated for their work. But with this, a trustee mustn’t overcompensate themselves. Otherwise, your beneficiaries may not receive the full extent of assets that have been promised to them.

With that being said, if you are a beneficiary that believes that a trustee has overcompensated themselves or has otherwise withheld assets that you should have received, then you may be able to take some sort of action. This is because Pennslyvania law grants you the right to benefit from the assets specified to you in a trust agreement. So, without further ado, pick up the phone and consult with one of the Butler County estate planning & probate attorneys today.

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