Trusts are a popular way to transfer property between parties. Individuals often choose these documents to gain tax benefits and avoid the challenging probate process. One major part of creating a trust is nominating a trustee. A trustee temporarily holds property on behalf of the trust until the time comes to distribute the assets to the designated beneficiaries. During this time, the trustee has a duty to act in accordance with the instructions written in the trust.
An O’Fallon trust administration lawyer could help parties who need guidance concerning their role as a trustee. A dedicated trust attorney could also serve as a trustee when a trust-maker is looking to transfer assets to another person or organization.
The General Duties and Powers of Trustees
A trustee plays a key role in the administration of a trust. In fact, a trust cannot exist without a trustee. Under state law, any adult may serve in this role. Additionally, an organization, corporation, or other entity can serve as a trustee if they have authorization from the State.
Trustees always have a duty under the law to act in the best interests of both the trust maker and the beneficiaries. According to Missouri Revised Statute § 456.8-801, this means acting in “good faith.” More specifically, trustees have an obligation to:
- Inform beneficiaries concerning the existence of a trust
- Provide reports to both trust makers and trustees
- Safely hold and maintain the property in question
- Distribute the property at the appointed time
Failure to fulfill one’s duties as a trustee can come with severe consequences. For instance, if a trustee does not act in the best interests of the trust maker and beneficiaries, these parties can act to claim damages. An O’Fallon trust administration attorney could provide more information about the role of trustees and help this party fulfill their legal obligations.
How a Lawyer May be Able to Assist
Clearly, the role of a trustee in administering a trust is vital. Without proper action from a trustee, the trust fails to fulfill its purpose. It is understandable that individuals may be confused as to their role in the process when a trust names them as a trustee, but a trust administration lawyer in O’Fallon may be able to help.
For instance, our legal team can provide guidance concerning a trustee’s obligations under the law, suggest ways to properly hold the assets in question, and help author the required reports.
In other situations, an experienced attorney could directly serve as a trustee. Hiring an attorney to serve as a trustee increases the chances of proper trust management and helps to ensure effective communication during the asset distribution process.
Reach out to an O’Fallon Trust Administration Attorney Now
The proper administration of a trust is vital to serving that document’s purpose. Administering a trust is a big responsibility, since state law mandates that all trustees act in good faith and protect the best interests of the author. Failure to do so can result in lawsuits that threaten both the trust and the finances of trustees.
Fortunately, an O’Fallon trust administration lawyer may be able to help you if you have received a nomination to serve as a trustee. Our dedicated team will explain the laws that govern trustee behavior and recommend steps to fulfill your obligations.
Finally, a seasoned attorney may also be able to serve as a trustee for your trust, which could help to increase the chances of smooth administration and property distribution. Contact our office today to schedule your initial consultation.