Often, a California resident will choose a friend or family member to oversee an irrevocable trust. This is because a friend or family member is generally someone who the grantor of the trust can rely on. However, a trustee will have a fiduciary responsibility to many parties after taking on such a role, especially after the grantor has died. For instance, a trustee will have to be sure to act in the best interests of a trust’s beneficiaries.
In some cases, this can become complicated because there are multiple people who all have their own interests and agenda. It is possible that what a beneficiary wants is not in the best interest of the trust or is contrary to the intent of the deceased grantor as expressed in the trust’s provisions. However, if the trustee fails to act in a responsible manner, he or she could incur financial penalties or be subject to legal action. Trustees should know that they can turn to an attorney for help if they need it.
Trustees have a variety of tasks to perform after the grantor has died. One key responsibility is to manage the trust’s assets with a degree of prudence so that they can be preserved and protected for the beneficiaries. Another is to handle distributions in strict accordance with the trust’s provisions, and the trustee will also be required to file applicable state and federal tax returns.
It is not expected that the trustee will have sufficient legal knowledge to handle all of these matters. Our trust attorneys have extensive experience with these and other trust administration issues. If you are such a fiduciary and would like to learn more about the services that we can provide, you are invited to visit our page on the subject.