What is a Trustee?
A guide to Trustee & their duties.
A Trustee is a person or organisation that you appoint to be in charge of your assets that are being held, in Trust, for your chosen beneficiaries. These can include children’s Trusts, a Life Interest Trust or a Discretionary Will Trust among others. When appointing your Trustee(s) it is very important to consider the duties and responsibilities that accompany being a Trustee and whether your appointed person is able to carry out those duties.
A Trustee will have to manage the assets in a way that is in the best interests of the beneficiaries and which also adheres to the trust document. Therefore, understanding the document and what is required is extremely important. They will have to ensure that all paperwork and correspondence connected with the Trust is collated and kept up to date and accurate.
A Trustee will have to ensure that all Tax returns are filed with HMRC and they will be responsible for paying any Tax due, Trustees are also responsible for investing or transferring assets where necessary.
Trustees have to be aware of any possible conflicts of interest which may arise especially where a Trustee is also named as a beneficiary. The trust duties owed by a Trustee means that if a Trustee does not act in the best interest of the beneficiaries, or an element of their responsibilities are overlooked or forgotten - whether intentionally or not - they can be held personally liable.
Many people will appoint a close relative or friend to act as a Trustee(s) as they are people that they trust and are often those closest to them. However, when considering who to appoint as your Trustee(s) it is worth bearing in mind some of the following points:
- Acting as a Trustee can be complex and time consuming, would your appointed Trustee have the appropriate skills to manage the trust and the time to complete and keep up to date records.
- The age of the Trustee – your appointed Trustee may predecease you or may not possess the required skills needed.
- Where does your Trustee live? Living abroad may make managing the Trust difficult.
- Some Trusts require a minimum of two Trustees. Are your appointed Trustees able to communicate and coordinate to manage the Trust?
- Those appointed will have suffered bereavement, would they be in a position to take on the added responsibility of setting up and managing a Trust?
- Your appointed Trustee(s) will be held personally liable for any mistakes made.
It is advisable to give serious thought to who you should appoint to act as your Trustee(s) and whether engaging the services of a professional organisation, such as Redstone Wills, is perhaps the best option which can alleviate the anxiety and stress that can accompany being a Trustee.
When you consider the various duties and responsibilities of a Trustee and the importance of making sure that the Trust is managed and administered correctly, engaging the professional services of Redstone Wills will mean that expert professional trust advisors will be on hand to advise and safeguard against conflicts of interests by always acting in the best interests of your beneficiaries.
For more information on the duties of Trustees or how Redstone Wills can stand as your Trustee, please do get in touch with a member of the team today.