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October 9, 2019

Your Trustee Questions Answered

by Jackson Watson in Estate Planning

Trusts are an essential part of estate planning and trusts only work when trustees bring out trust instructions. To that end, we’re answering your trustee concerns here. If you have additional questions or need help picking a trustee, ask your estate planning attorney.

What is a trustee?
A trustee is a private or corporate fiduciary who owns legal title to trust properties, should perform trust instructions, and has a fiduciary duty of care to trust beneficiaries.

What are co-trustees?
Co-trustees are 2 or more trustees who function as trustee together.

What are contingent trustees?
Contingent trustees are back-up trustees who serve if the primary trustee is not able or unwilling to serve.

What do trustees do?
Trustees must perform the instructions in the trust; primary tasks include handling assets, investing assets, filing taxes, and making circulations to recipients. In addition, there are duties directly connected with the type of trustee.

What are the types of trustees?
There are disability trustees who serve when the trust maker ends up being legally disabled; there are death or settlement trustees who serve when the trust maker dies; there are beneficiary trust trustees who serve as trustee of trusts for beneficiaries; and, there are trustees of all type of trusts such as individual residence trusts, life insurance trusts, charitable trusts, and the like.

Who is the ideal trustee?
The perfect trustee is sincere, appreciates serving well, efficiently communicates with professional consultants and beneficiaries, is a good record keeper, and can be held financially accountable.