The Top 5 Tasks of a Trustee

The Top 5 Tasks of a Trustee

A trustee is someone who steps in and manages a trust after the death or incapacity of the trust creator.  If you need help with your duties as a trustee, look for an Orange County estate planning attorney who can help you understand the tasks at hand and how to manage them.

There are a lot of tasks associated with being a trustee and if you agree to take on this responsibility, you should be aware of what the job will require.

From gathering documents to checking tax liabilities, keep reading to learn about some of the most common and most important tasks a trustee will be called upon to perform.

1. Locate and Organize Assets

One of the main tasks of a trustee will be to locate and make a list of all trust assets. 

As you complete your work, you should also ensure that you keep thorough records for payments made. This will keep the trust assets traceable in case any funds are questioned or misplaced. 

2. Send Necessary Notices

Depending on the type of trust and assets, there may be a lot of notices to file with local authorities or service providers.

You may be required to do the following:

  • Notify the Social Security Administration.
  • Notify utility and telephone providers and end the relevant contracts.
  • Notify banks and any financial advisers or brokers involved with the deceased’s finances.
  • Notify any insurance companies, including life insurance companies where a policy may need to be redeemed. Filing this type of claim will require additional steps that the provider will assist you with.

3. File Taxes

A trustee will also have the responsibility of filing a tax return and paying any necessary taxes on behalf of the deceased.

You will need the following:

  • The trust income tax return
  • The Decedent’s final Form 1040
  • The Estate tax return

The funds to pay for these taxes will be taken out of the trust assets, which makes it very important to keep an accurate account of the funds and where they go. This ensures proper administration and management of the trust funds.

4. Determine and Pay Existing Debts

In some cases, the deceased will have outstanding debts that must be paid before the rest of the trust can be distributed to the beneficiaries.

This might include bills owed toward the end of the deceased’s life, such as hospital bills or even funeral costs.

However, you also need to check for other debts such as loans or credit card bills that must be paid promptly.

5. Distribute the Estate

The distribution of the trust estate will depend entirely upon the intentions of the testator and the provisions contained in the trust document.

It will be your duty as the trustee to ensure that beneficiaries of the trust receive their rightful property according to the trust instructions.

You must remember to retain a thorough and accurate record of the distribution of assets. It is common for partial distributions to be made over the course of several years, which can become confusing if careful records are not kept.

Need Help Administering a Trust?

If you are unsure of where or how to start fulfilling your duties as a trustee, contact an experienced trust attorney in Orange County today. Our team will be happy to assist you with all of your queries and help you carry out your responsibilities as a trustee.

Maria Parker assists her clients plan for their end of life health care wishes and the ultimate distribution of their wealth after death. She personally experienced the importance of planning at the time her father passed away.

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