What is Trustee Fiduciary Duty?
Trustees are individuals or institutions who are specifically named in a person’s trust to carry out certain duties. The trustee is responsible for managing the assets that are in the trust while that person is still living and after the person’s death. Being named as a trustee does not mean that you now inherit another person’s assets; you are simply responsible for managing the assets of the trust so the beneficiaries of the trust will ultimately receive what is due to them (as outlined in the trust).
A trustee for a person who is still living person’s has many responsibilities including:
- Proper care: if the grantor (creator of the trust) is incapacitated, the trustee is responsible for distributing funds for the grantor’s wellbeing which could include medical insurance or other benefits to cover any costs associated with proper care.
- Record keeping: maintain accurate details of every transaction made or payments received on behalf of the trust.
- Notifications: if you are an acting trustee, there are a wide variety of organizations that should be notified including banks, social security, brokerage firms, beneficiaries, employers, insurance companies, etc.
- Attention to details: ensure that you are helping the trust run smoothly by being fully aware of the assets in the trust and handling details in a timely manner: paying bills, taxes, getting appraisals, etc.
- Honesty: never mix your assets with those of the trust or knowingly make poor investments with the trust’s money.
- Loyalty: treat all beneficiaries fairly, even if you have reason to believe some do not deserve a portion of the trust. Put your personal feelings aside in all aspects of the estate management.
- Communication: keep a continual line of communication open between the grantor (trust creator) and any other beneficiaries as required by the trust.
If you are faced with trustee duties in Colorado and aren’t sure of the steps to take (or the process seems too overwhelming), contact the Denver estate planning lawyers at The Brown Law Firm, LLC. We can help you understand your responsibilities and outline a strategy for making the process as streamlined as possible. Our team can step in to handle as little or as much as you want. Contact us at (303) 339-3750 or send us a message online to meet with our experts.