Considerations for Family Member Trustees

Adult children often want to ensure their parents are cared for and protected. If your parent is sick or elderly, you may have questions about the best way to protect their assets while they are alive. Consequently, you may decide to talk to your parent about initiating a trust and appointing a trustee to honor your parent’s wishes. To establish a living trust, your parent will need to appoint a trustee to manage the trust’s assets. Often, parents appoint their adult children as trustees. However, before accepting the role, it is important to be as informed as possible about the duties of a trustee. In some circumstances, working with a professional trustee may be the more appropriate course of action.

What Are Your Responsibilities as a Trustee?

As a trustee, you are primarily responsible for making financial decisions about your parent’s trust. To effectuate these decisions, you may invest part of the trust, handle businesses held in trust, or manage assets held in trust, such as property. Braverman Law Group’s Managing Attorney, Diedre Wachbrit Braverman, delineated additional responsibilities of a trustee in a recent Wall Street Journal article. As Attorney Braverman explained, trustees administer a trust by supervising and collaborating with financial professionals, such as accountants, financial advisors, property managers, and estate planning attorneys.

Additionally, you should be prepared to serve as a trustee for an extended period of time depending on the complexity of the trust. For example, if beneficiaries are minor children, they may not inherit money for several years. Accordingly, a trustee should expect to manage the trust for the requisite time period until minor beneficiaries are old enough to receive assets from the trust. Conversely, if a trustee can administer the entirety of a trust’s assets at once, the process may take less than a year. However, before stepping into the role of trustee, you should ensure you understand the level of commitment required to responsibly handle your parent’s assets.

If you are not completely sure that you can handle the responsibilities of a trustee, you may wish to talk to your parent about appointing a professional trustee. Professionals often have significant experience handling trusts, and they tend to maintain close relationships with financial planners and property managers to aid the process of administering trusts. In the long term, hiring a professional may be more cost-efficient. In fact, professional trustees can often secure reduced prices for expenses related to handling your parent’s trust, such as real estate agent fees.

Contact a Boulder, Colorado Trusts and Estates Attorney Today

For more information about trusts, trustee actions, and other estate planning services, contact the Braverman Law Group today. Our Boulder, Colorado estate planning firm can assist one or both of your parents with all of their trust and estate planning needs. If your parents are considering a living trust, our attorneys possess the skills and dedication to help guide them through the process. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our trusted Boulder estate planning attorneys, call our office today at (303) 800-1588.

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