When you create a trust, you need to elect a trustee to serve upon your death. This role is a very important role that can’t be filled by just anyone. To make sure you select the proper person, review the immediate duties and responsibilities of your trustee after your death.
- A trustee is responsible for locating all of your trust assets and protecting them.
- Your trustee must gather information regarding retirement accounts, annuities, and insurance policies that are given to your trust.
- The trustee must coordinate with your executor and go through any probate administration that is necessary to close out your estate.
- Obtain a date of death on all assets associated with your trust – including appraisals of any real estate or business investments.
- Determine any creditors owed and pay those using assets and money associated with the trust.
- Determine your trust’s estate tax – if any – and income tax.
- Prepare any tax returns necessary for your trust.
- Pay and manage the expenses associated with the trust – these are often ongoing and require your trustee to be organized and diligent.
- Investing and managing all assets within your trust until they’re distributed.
- Distributing assets to beneficiaries per the trust documents.
As you can see, your trustee has a big role to fill. The person you elect should be responsible, diligent, and organized. In fact, it is imperative they honor your wishes and are responsible enough to manage your assets along with their own life. A poor selection could lead to issues for your trust and beneficiaries –including costly courtroom battles.