What Are the Duties & Responsibilities of a Successor Trustee

What Are the Duties & Responsibilities of a Successor Trustee

  • September 28, 2011

The most important duty is to implement the Trust's instructions concerning how the trust property should be used to aid the beneficiaries. Guardians decide how to take care of a beneficiary's physical needs, the Successor Trustee decides how to use trust assets to pay for those needs.

Among other responsibilities, a Successor Trustee should: make an inventory of trust assets; protect trust assets and make sure they are properly invested; prepare an accounting for beneficiaries and implement the trustmaker's instructions as to how assets are to be distributed to the beneficiaries or used for their benefit.

The Successor Trustee does not have to act alone. The trust should authorize the Successor Trustee to obtain whatever professional services are necessary to carry out the trust's instructions. Each state has statutory guidelines that regulate a trustee's responsibilities. Trustees must use reasonable business judgment in the investment, management and diversification of the trust assets, taking into account the needs of the beneficiaries. Additionally, trustees must not allow trust assets to be wasted or invest money or other property in speculative or other imprudent investments.


NEXT WEEK: Who Can I Select To Be A Successor Trustee?