What Is a Trustee? What Are the Duties of a Trustee?

The trustee has an integral role in the way a trust functions. If you are thinking about establishing a trust, it's important to know what a trustee's role is in a trust and how the trustee relates to the beneficiary of trust. These answers to frequently asked questions will help you.

Who is a trustee?

This is a person who is put in charge of a trust. He or she manages the property that comes with the trust.

What are the qualities of a good trustee?

This should be someone who understands and even shares the priorities of the person who establishes the trust. The trustee should be someone who understands financial matters and who has enough common sense to manage a property. You can tell a good trustee based on the way he or she manages their own financial and legal affairs. When searching for a candidate, the person establishing the trust should pick someone who seems to have his or her own financial affairs in order.

What are the duties of a trustee?

The ultimate goal of a trustee is to ensure that the benefits of the trust continue for the beneficiary.

Who is the beneficiary of a trust?

This is a person who reaps the benefits that come from a trust. The beneficiary may be a child or someone who cannot take care of the trust personally.

What kind of benefits can come from a trust?

This varies depending on the agreement, but a trust could be a bank account or a property with a house or farm land. If it includes a bank account, the job of the trustee will be to ensure that the money in the bank account is invested and continues to generate profit. If it includes a house, the trustee will need to ensure that the house is kept up and continues to have worth. These benefits will be passed on to the beneficiary.

How will the trustee decide what is the best benefit for the beneficiary?

The trust will establish guidelines for the trustee. For example, if the beneficiary is a child, and the person who set up the trust would like to provide for the child's education, specific guidelines about the child's education (such as where the child goes to school and what aspects of the child's education will be paid for by the trust) may be established in the trust documents.

If you have more questions about the role of a trustee or how a trustee and beneficiary of trust are related to one another, contact a qualified estate planning attorney, like Jolein A. Harro, P.C., who can tell you more.