Many people in Ohio are asked to be trustees of their family members’ trusts. Most people says yes even though they may not completely understand their responsibilities as trustees. They also may not become the trustee of the trust until many years later. By that time, they probably do not even know what is in the trust much less how to administer it.
Responsibilities of a trustee
Trustees have a very important job and it is important to understand their responsibilities. The main responsibilities of a trustee are:
- Administering the trust: Trustees need to be familiar with the trust assets and collect all of the trust assets. Then they need to follow instructions for how to distribute the assets to the beneficiaries of the trust.
- Invest trust assets: Trustees also have a duty to invest trust assets prudently to maximize the assets for the benefit of the beneficiary.
- Prepare taxes: It is the trustee’s responsibility to prepare all necessary tax filings and pay the required taxes for the estate and trust assets.
- Accounting: Trustees need to have accounting for the trust assets to be able to properly inform the beneficiaries how they handled the trust assets.
Trustees are not always experts in these various responsibilities. In fact, most trustees who agree to the job for a family member were not generally selected based on the fact that they know exactly what to with trust administration. Seeking the appropriate professionals to help is sometimes necessary.
People in Ohio generally become trustees to a trust because they are close to the settlor of the trust. When it comes time to perform their duties as a trustee, they may not know where to start. It is important that they perform their job duties correctly because they could be in trouble with the beneficiaries if they do not. Experienced attorneys understand trust administration and may be able to guide one through the process.