What is the role of a trustee in estate planning?

trustee man and woman signing and reading a paper

Estate planning is extremely important for everyone regardless of wealth. Estate planning tools such as a will and trust are extremely beneficial. This is because they allow you to have control over how you wish your assets to be distributed after you’ve departed. A trust allows you to put your assets aside for the future to be distributed to your beneficiaries after you’ve died. When you die, your trustee will be responsible for administering and disturbing the assets in the trust according to your instructions. It is imperative to appoint someone you fully trust as you are giving them legal power over your estate. If you are interested in creating a trust, contact an adept Montgomery County Trust Attorney who can help you protect your hard-earned assets for the future. In addition, please continue reading to learn about the role of trustees in estate planning.

What is a trustee in estate planning?

In estate planning, trustees have an important role. Essentially, a trustee is an appointed custodian that has power over assets that have been set aside in a trust. A trustee is responsible for managing a decedent’s finances after they’ve departed as per the decedent’s instructions. They have a fiduciary duty to handle your financial matters after you’ve departed. When you appoint a trustee, you are entrusting them with a lot of power and responsibility. Oftentimes, the trustee is the person who created the trust. However, in the event they become incapacitated or die, the successor trustee becomes responsible for the trust. It is pertinent to note that when a successor trustee takes over, this does not mean that the assets in the trust belong to them. They simply have a fiduciary responsibility to manage the assets that are in the trust for the decedent’s beneficiaries.

Furthermore, trustees are responsible for carrying out the important duties of a trust. Trustees are responsible for keeping track of pertinent financial records and filing tax returns on behalf of the trust. As trustees, they must communicate with beneficiaries and provide them with the necessary financial and tax information. In addition, they must fully understand the terms of the trust to ensure the assets remain secure in the trust. In some cases, descendants specify that they want the trustee to invest the assets left in the trust.

Ultimately, the role of a trustee in estate planning is extremely important. It is imperative to fully trust the individual you are appointing as a trustee or successor trustee as you are entrusting them with power over your property and assets in the event you become incapacitated or die. If you are thinking about creating a trust, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our skilled and dedicated attorneys. We can help you understand the roles and responsibilities of a trustee. Allow our firm to help you protect your assets today!