A Law Career

Your Trust Administrator: Their Duties And Responsibilities

by Ruby Mckinney

A trust is an excellent alternative to a last will and testament. It allows estates to be kept out of probate, provides inheritances to beneficiaries in a more orderly manner, and is entirely private. To oversee your trust once you have passed, you must appoint a person that is up to the job. Read on and find out more.

What Is a Trustee?

Overseeing a trust can be compared to executing a will. Executors work alongside a lawyer to ensure that the wishes of the owner of the trust are carried out exactly as stated. However, the duties of a trustee are more detailed than those of an executor. The duties of a trustee can go on for years and years whereas the duties of an executor may be finished in a matter of months once probate is over.

Duties of the Trustee

The duties vary depending on the trust itself. Some trusts are simple documents that contain bequests for beneficiaries. Once that has been done, the duties of the trustee may be over. However, the reason why many turn to a trust rather than a will is to take advantage of the powers of a trust. That can mean holding and taking care of funds for many beneficiaries for several years.

  • Make a timely notification to all involved individuals of the trust owner's death. That usually means notifying beneficiaries, guardians, and financial institutions. The probate court and the executor of the estate will also need to be informed. 
  • File tax returns for the trust until it's closed. Also, the trustee may be responsible for filing the final tax return of the deceased unless the probate administrator has already done so.
  • Distribute the assets of the trust as specified by the trust's owner to designated beneficiaries.
  • Ensure that funds are distributed as ordered. The trust creator can specify when, where, and how funds are to be paid out. For instance, an adult child might be paid a certain sum of money every other week on Monday. The money must be in the form of a gift card that restricts its use for alcohol or smoking materials.
  • Oversee funds for a pet. Pet trusts involve distributing funds for veterinarian visits, pet food, and other needs. A person should also be appointed to take care of the pet. Speak to an estate lawyer about setting up a pet trust with a trustee to oversee the welfare of a pet.
  • In some cases, funds in a trust are to be invested. Overseeing the investment is the duty of the trustee.

To find out more about setting up a trust and the duties of a trustee, speak to an estate planning attorney.