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As a trustee, you have the important responsibility of ensuring that the trust assets are invested wisely and distributed according to the terms of the trust. Often trusts are lengthy, complicated documents containing legal language that can be confusing. A simple error in misunderstanding the language of the trust and the distribution scheme can be a costly and litigious mistake for the trustee. West Palm Beach attorneys at Shalloway & Shalloway, P.A., have assisted thousands of trustees in handling the day-to-day management of trust assets as well as trust administration. Shalloway & Shalloway’s experienced and sound legal advice helps trustees understand their role and avoid costly mistakes.
Trustees are fiduciaries. A fiduciary is a person holding a legal and ethical obligation to someone else. In the case of trusts, trustees are required to act in the best interest of the trust. This means that the trustee must invest trust property and assets wisely and prudently and to the benefit of the trust, not to themselves. Of course, being a trustee does not mean that you have to be a financial planner or an investment banker, but it does mean that you should not invest trust property in financial schemes that would be against the interest of the trust. Shalloway & Shalloway, P.A., works with United Trust to provide assistance to fiduciaries such as trustees. Together, our firm works with United Trust to ensure that trustees are meeting their fiduciary duties and avoiding liability.
As a trustee, you are also responsible for administrating the trust according to its terms. Some trusts require that all trust assets be distributed upon the settlor’s (i.e. the decedent’s) death. Other trust may have sub-trusts, which require the trustee to hold certain trust property for a period of time until a triggering event happens. Common examples of sub-trusts include trusts established to hold property for children under the age of 21 or 25 and Special Needs Trusts. Trust assets will be held for, invested, and managed by the trustee until the child turns, 21, 25, or other age (i.e. “triggering event”) specified in the trust documents. When th trust assets are set for distribution, the trustee not only must distribute them to the correct people or institutions, but the trustee’s responsibilities also include:
Not all trusts are the same, nor is any distribution scheme standard. Administrating the trust requires careful understanding of the trust schematics and abidance by the law. Sometimes, trust disputes arise because of the trustee’s handling (or mishandling) of the trust assets. This is why it is important to seek the legal guidance of an experienced trust administration attorney.
Most trusts allow (and will pay for) the trustee to retain an attorney to handle the trust administration. The attorneys at Shalloway & Shalloway, P.A., will ensure that the administration of the trust goes smoothly and that all requirements under the law are met. If you are a trustee and would like to find out more about our trust administration services, please contact us today.