What Are the Fiduciary Duties of a Florida Trustee?
Trusts are some of the most powerful tools in an estate plan. There are many types of trusts, but typically they work by allowing someone to transfer assets into the trust and then putting those assets to work to care for specific people or further a defined goal. In some ways, a trust functions like a business, owning and managing assets. Whether you are running a business or creating a trust, one of your most important decisions is deciding who will be in charge; when it comes to trusts, the person in charge is known as the trustee.
Whether you name one trustee or multiple trustees, they will have certain duties in regard to the trust. Trustees must:
- Use or invest assets in a responsible and prudent way
- Distribute assets or earnings as the trust allows
- Avoid favoring certain recipients against the wording of the trust
- Take care of taxes, debts and recordkeeping
- Providing regular accountings to beneficiaries
The financial and clerical duties associated with managing a trust are known as fiduciary duties. When someone accepts the role of trustee, these duties become legally binding. When a trustee improperly carries out their duties or fails to fulfill the requirements of the position, they are considered to have violated their fiduciary duties. In these cases, they can be held responsible for loss or misappropriation of assets and may be forced to repay the trust. Beneficiaries can also seek to have the trustee removed, suspended or even fined.
Whether you are a beneficiary seeking to hold a trustee accountable for their actions or inactions, or a trustee seeking to defend yourself and the work you have done for the trust, learn your rights by consulting a skilled Tampa trust litigation attorney at BaumannKangas Estate Law.