In the event that you establish a trust, you will need to also name a trustee. It can be difficult to think about this process because you want someone who will have a relatively good relationship with your beneficiaries, who you also feel confident in passing the responsibilities on to.
Likewise, you need to make sure that you select a person who is comfortable handling this role. The duties of a trustee are specified by state law and within the trust itself. A trustee’s duties may include some or all of the following:
- Investing the trust principal.
- Terminating the trust at a time that is outlined in the trust agreement.
- Administering the trust according to the terms you stipulate.
- Managing any property within a trust, such as reinvesting assets.
- Making tax decisions.
- Filing tax returns for the trust.
- Maintaining accounting records for the trust.
- Distributing assets to beneficiaries.
You may consider appointing your spouse if you are creating a revocable living trust, but you might also choose to establish co-trustees such as one person who understands the goals you are trying to accomplish as well as an institution. In the event that something happens to the individual, the institution may still be around.
Your estate planning lawyer can be a great place to start if you’re thinking about putting together a trust.