A trustee is a person who manages and holds a property or assets on behalf of another person. Sometimes, a trustee is not one of the beneficiaries of a trust, but they nevertheless have legal obligations to the trust.
Trustees often have conduct duties, as well as non-excludable or excludable content duties. It is a big responsibility, and not everyone is suitable or willing to become a trustee. As such, it is best to consult family trust lawyers before accepting such duties.
The Obligation to Be Honest and True
As a trustee, you have an obligation to be honest and true. You are the one responsible for administering the trust, so it is up to you to uphold the wishes of the person who put up the trust. As the trustee, you will take over if the original settlor falls ill or passes away.
You have to fulfil everything that is written in the trust; otherwise, you will put yourself at risk for criminal prosecution. You should be loyal and defend the trust to the best of your ability, always putting the benefit of the beneficiaries first.
Content duties refer to the obligations of the trustee to fully understand the terms of the trust and carry it out properly. Usually, you will have to uphold strict investment standards — you are not allowed to place the money in potentially risky investments, as this puts the trust in danger. Content duties will also include keeping track of taxes, accounting and the distribution of assets.
Non-excludable content duties refer to the duties applied to all trusts by law, while excludable content duties are the ones detailed in specific trusts themselves. Some people have different wishes, which should be written out in the trust.
Trustees must uphold all duties without fail.