Trustee of a Trust

Clients Rate Lawyers on our Platform 4.9/5 Stars
based on 5,649 reviews

Jump to Section

Need help with a Trust?

Post Project Now

A trust is a legal arrangement in which a trustee holds and manages assets to benefit the trust's beneficiaries. The trustee has a fiduciary responsibility to act in the heir's best interests, and they are accountable for managing the assets and allocating them according to the terms of the trust.

Important Duties of a Trustee

The trustee is the person or entity accountable for overseeing the trust's operations, and their obligations can be extensive. Below are some important duties of a trustee.

Legal Obligations of Trustees

A trust is a legal agreement where a trustee handles assets on behalf of an heir. Trustees must adhere to a combination of legal obligations while properly managing a trust. These duties may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the specific terms of the trust, but in general, trustees must:

  • Follow the Trust Terms. The trustee must follow the instructions outlined in the document. It includes managing the trust's assets according to its purpose and distributing income and principal to beneficiaries.
  • Act in the Best Interests of the Beneficiaries. The trustee must always act in the best interests of the beneficiaries. It means making decisions that will maximize the value of the trust for the beneficiaries, even if those decisions are not in the trustee's best interests.
  • Keep Accurate Records. The trustee is accountable for maintaining accurate records of all trades related to the trust, including revenue, expenditures, and distributions.
  • Exercise Due Care. The trustee must use proper care and diligence when handling the trust. It includes supervising the assets prudently and seeking professional guidance when necessary.
  • Avoid Conflicts of Interest. The trustee must avoid any conflicts of interest between their interests and those of the trust or the heirs. If a dispute does arise, the trustee must reveal it to the beneficiaries and take appropriate action to fix it.
  • Comply with Relevant Laws and Rules. The trustee must comply with all rules and laws governing trusts in their jurisdiction.

Ethical Considerations for Trustees

Trustees must also consider ethical considerations when handling a trust. These considerations may not be lawfully required, but they are essential for maintaining the trust's integrity and reputation. Some ethical considerations for trustees comprise:

  • Transparency. The trustees should be transparent about their actions and decisions and willing to explain them to the heirs.
  • Respect. The trustee should respect the freedom and dignity of the heirs and should not treat them as mere commodities or objects.
  • Fairness. The trustee should aim to be fair and honest in their dealings with the heirs.
  • Sustainability. The trustee should consider the long-term sustainability of the trust and should avoid actions that may jeopardize its viability or reputation.

Fiduciary Obligations of Trustees

Besides the legal and ethical obligations, trustees also have fiduciary duties to the trust's beneficiaries. Fiduciary duties are the highest standard of care under the law and require the trustee to act with loyalty, utmost good faith, and care when managing the trust. The primary fiduciary obligations of trustees are:

  • Duty of Prudence. The trustee must handle the trust's assets with the consideration, skill, and caution that a prudent individual would use in similar circumstances.
  • Duty of Loyalty. The trustee must act exclusively in the interests of the heirs and not use the trust for their benefit.
  • Duty of Accountability. The trustee must inform the beneficiaries about the trust's activities and provide them with regular reports on their financial status.
  • Duty of Impartiality. The trustee must treat all beneficiaries equitably and impartially, without favoring one over another.
  • Duty of Confidentiality. The trustee must keep all trust details confidential, except when disclosure is required by law or authorized by the inheritors.

Types of Trustees

Trustees play a vital role in addressing the trust and ensuring its assets are used for the intended objectives.

  • Individual Trustees. An individual trustee is someone that you trust to manage your trust. This person is typically a family member or friend of yours, but they can also be a professional trustee. Individual trustees are accountable for acting in the beneficiaries' best interests and managing the trust assets prudently. They are responsible for making investment decisions, distributing income and principal to beneficiaries, and keeping accurate records of trust transactions.
  • Co-Trustees. Co-trustees are two or more trustees appointed to manage a trust together. This type of trustee arrangement is often used to provide additional oversight and to ensure that no one trustee has too much power. Co-trustees have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries and to manage the trust assets prudently. They are responsible for making investment decisions, distributing income and principal to beneficiaries, and keeping accurate records of trust transactions. Co-trustees must work together to make decisions and manage the trust assets.
  • Corporate Trustees. A corporate trustee is a professional trustee nominated to execute a trust. This type of trustee is typically a bank or trust company with the expertise and resources to manage complex trusts. Corporate trustees are regulated by state and federal laws and have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries. They are responsible for managing the trust assets, making investment decisions, distributing income and principal to beneficiaries, and keeping accurate records of trust transactions.
  • Trust Protectors. A trust protector is a person who is appointed to oversee the actions of the trustee and to ensure that the trust is being managed in the best interests of the beneficiaries. This type of trustee arrangement often provides additional oversight and protects the beneficiaries' interests. Trust protectors have the power to remove or replace the trustee, modify the terms of the trust, and make other decisions related to trust management.
  • Successor Trustees. A successor trustee is a trustee who is appointed to manage a trust if the original trustee is unable to do so. This type of trustee arrangement is often used to ensure that the trust assets are managed in the event of the original trustee's death, disability, or resignation. Successor trustees have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries and to manage the trust assets prudently. They are responsible for making investment decisions, distributing income and principal to beneficiaries, and keeping accurate records of trust transactions.
Meet some lawyers on our platform

Julian H.

4 projects on CC
View Profile

Bryan B.

144 projects on CC
View Profile

Zachary J.

115 projects on CC
View Profile

Donya G.

80 projects on CC
View Profile

Key Terms for Trustees

  • Beneficiary: A person or group of individuals who benefit from a trust made by the trustee.
  • Fiduciary Duty: A legal responsibility of trustees to act in the best interest of the heirs and manage assets prudently.
  • Trustee Compensation: The payment or fees are given to the trustee for their services in handling the trust.
  • Trust Instrument: A legal document that outlines the terms and conditions of the trust, including the trustee's powers and duties.
  • Trust Corpus: The property or assets held in the trust for the benefit of the heirs.
  • Trust Administration: Managing the trust, including distributing income and principal, investing assets, and maintaining records.

Final Thoughts on Trustees

A trustee is vital in handling trust and has a fiduciary duty to act in the heirs' best interests. Trustees must follow the terms of the trust instrument and manage the trust assets prudently while keeping accurate documents and communicating with inheritors. Trustee compensation should be reasonable and reflect the complexity of the trust administration. Overall, a reliable and qualified trustee is necessary to ensure the successful administration of a trust.

If you are looking to get free pricing proposals from vetted lawyers that are 60% less than typical law firms, you can click here to get started. By comparing multiple proposals for free, you can save the time and stress of finding a quality lawyer for your business needs.

How ContractsCounsel Works
Hiring a lawyer on ContractsCounsel is easy, transparent and affordable.
1. Post a Free Project
Complete our 4-step process to provide info on what you need done.
2. Get Bids to Review
Receive flat-fee bids from lawyers in our marketplace to compare.
3. Start Your Project
Securely pay to start working with the lawyer you select.

Meet some of our Lawyers

Michael W. on ContractsCounsel
View Michael
5.0 (2)
Member Since:
July 13, 2020

Michael W.

Free Consultation
Columbia, MD
12 Yrs Experience
Licensed in MD
Georgetown University Law Center

Graduate of Georgetown Law (J.D. and LL.M in Taxation) Injury Claims Adjuster before law school for top insurer Eight plus years of legal experience Past roles: Associate at premier boutique law firm in the DC metro area Policy Associate at a large academic and research institution Solo Practice Areas of Expertise: Contracts Business Formation Trusts and Estates Demand Letters Entertainment Transactions

Mark D. on ContractsCounsel
View Mark
5.0 (9)
Member Since:
August 27, 2020

Mark D.

Free Consultation
San Diego, CA
13 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA
Boston College Law School

California-based small business attorney handling matters related to securities, mergers & acquisitions, corporate governance, and other business transactions.

Agnes M. on ContractsCounsel
View Agnes
5.0 (6)
Member Since:
July 13, 2020

Agnes M.

Managing Attorney
Free Consultation
13 Yrs Experience
Licensed in FL, NJ, PA
Florida Coastal School of Law

Agnes Mombrun Geter is the Founder and Managing Attorney of Mombrun Law, PLLC. She is an experienced attorney and is a member of the Florida Bar, New Jersey Bar, and the Pennsylvania Bar. The firm's practice focuses on Estate Planning, Business Law, and Debt Settlement including IRS Debt Relief. The firm's goal is to simplify the law and provide clients with the confidence and information necessary to make their decisions. The firm also provides project-based legal services to other attorneys and law firms, along with assisting as personal counsel and local counsel on legal matters.

Julian H. on ContractsCounsel
View Julian
5.0 (2)
Member Since:
July 14, 2020

Julian H.

Business Attorney
Free Consultation
Washington, DC
21 Yrs Experience
Licensed in MD
Howard University School of Law

I am a business attorney with years of experience advising individual entrepreneurs and small businesses on issues ranging from entity selection/formation to employment law compliance, to intellectual property protection and exploitation. I often act as General Counsel for my clients fulfilling the legal function as part of a team of managers. I look forward to learning more about your business and how I may be of assistance.

Richard N. on ContractsCounsel
View Richard
4.9 (46)
Member Since:
July 9, 2020

Richard N.

Managing Member
Free Consultation
Princeton, NJ
40 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NJ
New York Law School

I have been practicing law for 35 years. In addition to my law degree, I hold an MBA. I've created six companies, currently act as outside counsel to another 12, and have been an advisor to more than 500 startups and entrepreneurs.

Donya G. on ContractsCounsel
View Donya
4.9 (49)
Member Since:
July 10, 2020

Donya G.

Contract, E-Commerce Attorney & Dispute Resolution Specialists
Free Consultation
United States
23 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CT, NY
Pace University School of Law

I am a licensed and active NY Contracts Attorney, with over 20 years of diverse legal and business experience. I specialize in reviewing, drafting and negotiating commercial agreements. My practice focuses on working with small business clients as well as clients from international brokerage firms on acquisitions, especially in the Ecommerce space; drafting, negotiating, reviewing and advising on business agreements; ; breach of contract issues, contract disputes and arbitration. I am licensed to practice in New York and Connecticut, and am a FINRA and NCDS Arbitrator. My experience includes serving as General Counsel to small businesses. This entails reviewing, updating and drafting contracts such as employments agreements, asset purchase agreements, master services agreements, operating agreements and a variety of business and commercial contracts. Additionally, I assist clients with business strategies, contract disputes and arbitration. My diverse experience allows me to give my clients a well-rounded approach to the issues they face. I have been at top AML law firms; a Vice President at an Investment Bank, a Civil Court Arbitrator presiding over cases in contract law, commercial law, a Hearing Officer, presiding over cases and rendering written decisions, and a Judicial Clerk to a Civil Court Judge. It would be a privilege to assist you and your business with my services.

Carlos C. on ContractsCounsel
View Carlos
Member Since:
July 11, 2020

Carlos C.

Attorney-at-law and Certified Public Accountant
Free Consultation
Atlanta, GA
27 Yrs Experience
Licensed in DC, FL, GA
Inter American University

Carlos Colón-Machargo is a fully bilingual (English-Spanish) attorney-at-law and Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with over twenty years of experience. His major areas of practice include labor and employment law; business law; corporate, contract and tax law; and estate planning. He is currently admitted to practice law in Georgia, Florida, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico and currently licensed as a CPA in Florida. He received a Master of Laws from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1997, where he concentrated in Labor and Employment Law (LL. M. in Labor and Employment Law) and a Juris Doctor, cum laude, from the Inter American University.

Matthew F. on ContractsCounsel
View Matthew
Member Since:
July 13, 2020

Matthew F.

Free Consultation
Coral Springs, FL
20 Yrs Experience
Licensed in FL
UF Levin College of Law

As a business law attorney serving Coral Springs, Parkland, and Broward County, FL, Matthew has been recognized as “AV” rated, which is the highest rating an attorney can achieve through Martindale’s Peer Review system. Year after year Matthew is listed in the “Legal Leaders” publication as a top-rated attorney in South Florida in the areas of litigation, commercial litigation, and real estate. Matthew is also a graduate and instructor of the Kaufman Foundation’s FastTrac NewVenture Program, presented by the Broward County Office of Economic and Small Business Development.

John B. on ContractsCounsel
View John
Member Since:
July 13, 2020

John B.

Managing Partner
Free Consultation
New York, NY
8 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NJ, NY
New York Law School

John Benemerito is the Founder and Managing Partner of Benemerito Attorneys at Law. Admitted to practice in New York and New Jersey, John represents small business owners and startups in the areas of Business and Securities Law. John received his Bachelors Degree at John Jay College of Criminal Justice where he majored in Criminal Justice. Afterwards, he attended New York Law School where he focused his studies on Corporate and Securities Law. John comes from a family of entrepreneurs. From as far back as he can remember he was always involved in his family’s numerous businesses. At the age of fifteen, John entered into a new business venture with his father and managed to grow and maintain that business through high school, college and law school.John is currently a co founder in over five different businesses. After law school, John decided that he wanted to help people like himself. He opened his own law practice and began working primarily with small business owners until he was introduced into the startup world. Ever since that time, John has worked with hundreds of startups and thousands of entrepreneurs from all different backgrounds in helping them achieve their goals. Having been an entrepreneur his entire life, John understands what it takes to create and maintain a successful business. He enjoys sitting down and working with his clients in figuring out each of their unique challenges.

Dillon N. on ContractsCounsel
View Dillon
Member Since:
July 13, 2020

Dillon N.

Associate Attorney
Free Consultation
Chicago, IL
8 Yrs Experience
Licensed in IL, KY
University of Kentucky College of Law

I joined Enterprise Law Group, LLP as an Associate in March 2020. My practice has involved a wide range of legal matters from commercial real estate, finance and international business transactions to litigation matters including commercial disputes, personal injury and medical malpractice. Proficient in Spanish, I graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Law, the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce, and the University of Southern California. Prior to my legal career, I sought diverse professional experiences. After graduating from college, I orchestrated my own volunteering experience in southern Peru with a small non-profit organization. Later I gained valuable professional experience as part of a U.S. Senate campaign, and after that I joined the public policy team at Greater Louisville, Inc., Louisville's Chamber of Commerce affiliate. Prior to law school, I embarked on a month long excursion with the Northern Outdoor Leadership School in Alaska, which gave me a new found appreciation for sustainability.

Find the best lawyer for your project

Browse Lawyers Now

Want to speak to someone?

Get in touch below and we will schedule a time to connect!

Request a call

Find lawyers and attorneys by city