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Trust Administration in Pittsburgh

Tasks of a Trustee

There are different responsibilities of a trustee in trust administration that need to be attended to. If you have been distinguished with this role, you will first have to read all documents pertaining to the trust to know and comprehend what they say. The purpose is to know and understand what the creator of the trust wanted to have done with their assets. You will then need to specifically follow what is listed in the document which may include making payments to the beneficiaries for their living expenses. The creator of the trust may be very specific with what they desire to happen, and each of these specifications should be followed as closely as reasonably possible. Trustees often have a lot of jobs that they need to complete. Here is a short list of some of the duties you may encounter in this role:

Fiduciary Responsibility: This is the responsibility to operate the trust and monitor any financial transactions regarding the money. Often you will have the “fiduciary role” in regards to the beneficiaries of the trust and the remainder men that may receive the finances if the distinguished heirs should pass away. You are held to a very high standard in this role and will probably need to monitor all investments and disbursements of the trust with more care and caution then you would give to your own accounts.

Investment Standards: You also have the job to invest the trust money in some circumstances. When you are choosing investments, you should not ever take a risk or determine that a questionable investment strategy is the right place to put your money. In some cases, a grantor may determine that one beneficiary is allowed to collect the income from any investments made with money from the trust. As the trustee, you will need to find a way to generate as much income as possible for the beneficiary. You will also want to consider the beneficiary’s future financial needs and determine whether or not they are planning to purchase a home, attend school, or need to start another financial endeavor with the trust money.

Accounting: As the trustee, you are also in charge of keeping track of all income to, distributions from and expenditures regarding the trust. You will probably need to account the information concerning these transactions to the beneficiaries on an annual basis, but you will want to look at the terms of your specific trust for more information.

Taxes: As the trustee, you are required to file the annual tax return regarding the trust and may have to pay taxes associated with the account. The trust will typically be part of the income for beneficiaries and be taxed as such, but you should keep good records and consult with a professional just to make sure.

Distributions: As a trustee, you also need to use discretion to determine whether or not to make distributions to the beneficiary who has access to the account. Chances are that the decedent created a trust because he or she did not trust the spending habits of the beneficiary. As the trustee, you have the right to withhold some funds in some circumstances. Oftentimes the grantor will choose a trustee based on his or her wisdom and ability to say no in some difficult situations,

Delegation: While all of the different duties of the trustee are technically your responsibility, you have the right to delegate. If you want to ask another family member to cover the taxes or have someone else help you with the fiduciary responsibility or investments, then you have the right to delegate these duties. The most important thing is to oversee all areas and make sure that all responsibilities are fulfilled regarding the trust.

Maintaining the Trust’s Terms: Chances are that when you were appointed trustee you read the terms of the trust that were created by the grantor. As the trustee, you main goal is to uphold all of these desires in the grantor’s absence and make sure that beneficiaries do not abuse the finances within the account. If you are able to maintain the expenses, investments, and distributions of the trust, then you are fulfilling your duty well.

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The most important part of this process is making sure that you act in the best interest of the beneficiaries. They must place the others above themselves, even if it does not seem fair or appropriate to do so. Respecting the wishes of the maker of the trust is vital. As the trustee, you should not be able to use the trust for your own benefit and must avoid being part of any conflicts. You need to be completely careful in all steps of the process and if you are unsure of any procedure, you should contact a lawyer from our firm to make sure the process is being handled in a legitimate manner.

Trust administration is not always an easy task and can seem like a large responsibility. Although this is can be correct, it does not need to be an intimidating endeavor. With the proper guidance from an estate planning lawyer, it can be a smooth process. The knowledge required concerns the locating and receiving of the trust and how to handle the estate in conjunction with the specifications in the trust. At Frayer Law Offices, we can help you obtain the knowledge you need to handle this situation. Don’t hesitate to hire a Pittsburgh estate planning attorney at the firm today to inform you of your duties as a trustee and help you guide you through the process!

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.