One of your responsibilities as trustee is to inform the beneficiaries about the trust. This includes providing them with an accounting of the trust assets at least once a year, although sometimes beneficiaries can request more frequent and detailed reports. Some trusts have an exception to this requirement. Either way, you should keep accurate accounts.

Do you have to accept this role? 

The short answer to this question is no. You may decline to serve. The trust may name a second successor trustee, or may give you the power to nominate another successor trustee. Perhaps you feel this trust is large enough and complicated enough to need a professional trustee, such as a bank, to administer it. Or perhaps the trust has caused a conflict in the family you want to avoid, and a third-party trustee will settle the conflict.

Being named as someone’s trustee is an honor, but also a big responsibility. The first step to becoming a successful trustee is understanding what your role will be.

Philip J. Kavesh
Nationally recognized attorney helping clients with customized estate planning guidance for over 40 years.
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