Many people feel honored to be asked to serve as a trustee of a trust without realizing the responsibility it entails.  A trustee has a legal relationship with the beneficiaries of a trust.  This legal relationship imposes many duties and obligations on the trustee.

Among these duties are the duty:

  • to act with a high standard of care,
  • to gather, manage and control the trust assets,
  • of loyalty to all parties,
  • to avoid a conflict of interest,
  • to treat all beneficiaries equally,
  • to carry out the terms of the trust, and
  • to invest and manage assets in accordance with the terms of the trust and the law.

A trustee must take care to avoid co-mingling the assets of the trust with the trustee’s own assets.  A trustee must be prepared to report to the beneficiaries to keep them informed of the trust’s activities and a trustee generally will have a duty to account to the beneficiaries for the assets, the income, and the expenses of the trust.

These are just a few of the many legal duties and obligations imposed on a trustee.  We have prepared a guide for trustees to aid them in undertaking the administration of a trust.  When we meet with clients that will administer a trust, we strive to explain the duties of a trustee and to guide them through the process of administering a trust.