Trustees can have a lot to deal with, so it’s no surprise that some of them end up in trouble. If you are selected as a trustee, you need to take those responsibilities seriously. You also should know what you can do to avoid legal proceedings that can cost you time and money. This is why you should get some advice from a Washtenaw County trusts attorney.

What Are Trustees Responsible For?

Trustees have a few important responsibilities. They must:

Settle the decedent’s estate: A trustee must take care of the last financial matters of the deceased, and they need to act quickly. Delaying actions like paying taxes or fulfilling debt obligations can end up causing issues later.

Notify beneficiaries: If you are the beneficiary of a trust, it’s the trustee’s job to let you know that. Trustees also have to keep lines of communication open with beneficiaries as they take care of the trust and prepare to distribute assets. If a beneficiary cannot get in touch with a trustee, they can bring them to court.

Maintain properties: If any of the properties in the trust need repairs or maintenance, that’s also on the trustee. You cannot let the properties fall into disrepair if you are responsible for them. If they are being sold, you should ensure that the beneficiaries of the trust will get the maximum amount of money for them.

Do Trustees Need to Keep Track of Paperwork?

Not keeping track of paperwork is one of the worst mistakes trustees can make. You have all of these tasks to take care of, and you need to keep proper track of everything that you do. If money goes out of the trust to pay down a debt, that needs to be recorded. If you don’t keep good track, you could run into legal troubles when beneficiaries ask for an accounting of the trust and you struggle to show where assets have gone.

Can Trustees Take Money From a Trust?

Being a trustee is a tough job, so you do deserve payment. That does not mean that you can just take money out of the trust to pay yourself. There should be rules laid out concerning what kind of fee you can take. You could also consult a lawyer to figure out what kind of payment would be fair.

You also cannot borrow money from the trust for any reason. Even if you give it back to the trust almost immediately, this is a breach of fiduciary duty. Any beneficiary of the trust could find out and sue to have you removed as a trustee.

Schedule Your Consultation

If you are unsure about your role as a trustee or you plan to establish a trust yourself, talk to a professional. Contact Collis, Griffor & Hendra to schedule a consultation with our team. We can tell you more about how trustees can stay on the right side of the law.

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