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If You are a Pocatello Trustee Here is What You Need to Know About Your Job

The use of a trust as part of your Pocatello estate plan is often a very wise thing to do. Trusts often have the ability to carry out your instructions for a longer period of time then a simple estate plan containing a last will and testament can do. Additionally, trusts can also be useful in other circumstances such as when you have minor age children or children who have special needs.

In order to have a valid trust there must be a person who creates the trust called the Grantor, there must be a person who will receive the benefit of the trust who is called the Beneficiary, and the trust must be funded with money, property or other assets. Additionally, every trust must have a Trustee, who is the person tasked with the duty and responsibility to carry out and make sure that the terms and conditions set forth in the trust are completed.

Our premier team of Pocatello estate planning attorneys have worked with clients for over 70 years in meeting all of their estate planning needs, including setting up a trust. Additionally, we often assist individuals who are named as trustees so that they can properly carry out the duties and responsibilities they have been given. In these circumstances, our goals are to help our clients understand what is required of them and to help them complete these requirements. Our team of estate planning attorneys consists of partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson and attorneys Nate Palmer and Dave Bagley. Each of our attorneys has experience advising and working with trustees. We have the skill, experience, and knowledge necessary to assist each client in carrying out their responsibilities.

We recognize that not everyone has the same knowledge and experience that we have when it comes to dealing with trusts. The purpose of this particular webpage is to assist any individual who has been named as a trustee so that they can have a better understanding of what it is they are required to do.

Understand What Your Role Is

When a person has been named as a trustee the first thing that they must understand is what their role really is. To put it forth simply, a trustee has a duty and responsibility to protect the assets that are in the trust and to follow the instructions about how those assets are to be used. The trust document itself contains the terms and conditions that each trustee of that trust must follow. The trustee has the authority to deal with those assets, property, or money and to make sure that they are handled appropriately and when necessary are distributed to the right people the right way.

Each trustee has a fiduciary responsibility to the beneficiaries of the trust. Again to put this forth simply, the trustee is simply required to keep all the assets in the trust safe and to make sure that they are distributed to the beneficiaries based on the instructions provided in the trust. The basics in accomplishing these goals are that a trustee should always keep all trust property, accounts, and money separated from anything that is owned by the trustee individually. Additionally, a trustee should keep all beneficiaries informed about the trust, by and through an annual accounting of the trust. Further, a trustee is required to treat all beneficiaries equally unless the instructions in the trust provide for some sort of unequal treatment or distribution.

Most of the requirements of a trustee are accomplished when the trustee keeps good and accurate records about everything that is in the trust and everything that has happened with the trust. As was mentioned above, a trustee must provide an accounting and a report to the beneficiaries of the trust at least once a year. By maintaining good records, the trustee will have no problems providing the reports that are required.

You Can Get the Help You Need

The next most important thing that each trustee should understand is that they are not alone when it comes to handling the trust. There are a lot of things that a trustee must do in order to carry out the terms and conditions of a trust. Often, this can become an overwhelming task. The trustee has the authority and the ability to hire professionals such as attorneys and accountants to help them with all they are required to do. Additionally, a trustee can enlist or can hire the assistance of other individuals in order to manage, and maintain the property, money, and assets that are located in a trust.

A good example of this is that a trustee can hire a property manager to manage and take care of property in the trust that can be rented such as a duplex, or a commercial property. If a trust has these types of property or assets in it, the trustee is not required to be the landlord all by himself. Rather, he can enlist the services of professionals to do this for him as a way of providing proper protection and management of the trust assets. This then frees the trustee up to focus on other aspects of the trust that he is responsible for.

The most important thing for a trustee to remember is that they are in control of the trust. This means that even if they do hire professionals to help them with any portion of the trust, the trustee must always understand that they are still ultimately responsible for what happens to each of the assets. Our experience is that so long as the trustee has been careful and prudent in hiring professionals to help them, they will be protected in all the actions they have taken as a trustee of the trust. A trustee is only responsible for losses that occur in a trust when the trustee knows the losses will occur and does nothing to protect the trust, or when the trustee’s specific actions intentionally cause a loss.

When Does the Trust End and What Will You Need To Do When It Does

The final thing that a trustee must understand is when a trust comes to an end and what must happen when that occurs. In most instances a trust comes to an end when a specific person dies or when a specific amount of time passes, or when some other triggering event occurs. As an example, an individual may set up a trust for themselves to provide income to them while they are alive. The trust will then name other individuals who will receive the property and money in the trust after they die. In this instance the trustee’s responsibilities comes to an end when that individual dies. Their last duty is simply to make a distribution of the money and property in the trust to whoever the Grantor named as the final beneficiaries.

An additional example here might help. Suppose that you set up a trust for your child who is 10 years old. You indicate that the trust will continue to operate so long as that child is under the age of 30, and that until that age the trust property or money will be used for the benefit of that child to help them with their education, and for their support, health, and maintenance. You may leave instructions in the trust that says that at the age of 30 any money or property that is still in the trust will be paid directly to that child.

In both of these instances it’s important for the trustee to understand what the triggering event is that will cause the trust to end. Additionally, it is important for the trustee to understand the instructions about what the final distribution will be and to who it will go. This information is almost always contained in the trust document. For this reason, so long as the trustee can read the trust and have an adequate understanding of what it says, the trustee simply needs to follow the instructions that are given.

Enlist an Idaho Estate Planning and Probate Attorney to Help You

Our experienced Estate Planning team of attorneys can help you and your family with your Idaho estate plan or with your probate needs. Whether you are seeking your own customized Estate Plan or are in need of a Probate for a loved one who has passed, we are available to discuss your options and answer your questions at an initial free consultation. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a free consultation with the Racine Olson team. You can also email us directly at racine@racinelaw.net. We will answer your questions and will help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning and Probate problems.

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