What Are Some Mistakes Trustees Should Avoid?


Trustees have important jobs to do. When they make mistakes, there could be some serious repercussions. This is why a trustee needs to understand exactly what they are in for when they get the job. A Woodland Hills trust attorney from our firm can advise you.

What Can Trustees Get in Trouble For?

Trustees have a lot on their plate. They need to do their best to handle their responsibilities and keep everyone informed. They can easily get in trouble for:

Not communicating with beneficiaries: Trustees need to inform people when they are beneficiaries of a trust. The process of distributing assets can take a while, so this means that they also must keep them informed about any progress being made. If a beneficiary cannot get in touch with the trustee and get information about the trust, they would be within their rights to bring them to court.

Neglecting property maintenance: Trustees are also supposed to keep properties from the trust in good shape. If they fall into disrepair and this affects their value, then the trustee is not doing right by the beneficiaries of a trust.

Not keeping records: Every trust-related transaction needs to be tracked. This means that the trustee needs to keep meticulous records about debts that get paid down, properties that are sold, and anything else relating to the trust itself.

Not taking timely action: A trustee cannot drag their feet. They must handle all aspects of trust management as quickly as they can so that the assets can be distributed to beneficiaries as soon as possible.

Should Trustees Get Professional Help?

It’s not easy for trustees to handle their jobs all alone. Talking to professionals, like real estate agents, lawyers, and accountants, can help them understand their responsibilities and do right by the beneficiaries of the trust. A trustee who just tries to bulldoze through and handle all of their responsibilities without the needed knowledge or care can cause problems for everybody.

Should Trustees Get Paid?

Trustees have a tough job, so they should be paid. Most trusts allow for the payment of the trustee, but only after their duties have been done. You cannot take money from the trust before you have handled the decedent’s remaining debts, passing on assets to beneficiaries, or any of your other crucial tasks.

You also cannot “borrow” from the trust. Even if you pay the money back, this could be considered embezzlement. It would be easy for a beneficiary to take you to court and have you removed from your position.

Finally, when you do take a fee, it has to be a reasonable amount. Some trusts have a specific rule about how trustees get paid, but others do not. You should consult an attorney before doing anything.

Contact Our Estate Planning Lawyers

If you have any questions about trusts or the responsibilities of trustees, we can probably answer them. Contact the Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman and schedule a consultation. Our estate lawyers are ready to assist you.

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