Legal Blog

The Weekly Scenario: The Primary Duties of a Trustee


Question:  What are the primary duties of my Trustee?

Answer: A Trustee has the legal duty to carry out the directions set forth in your trust.  As a fiduciary, the Trustee cannot derive personal benefits from the assets he is entrusted to manage. If the Trustee does not follow the directions set forth in the trust, the Trustee can be subject to personal liability.

Some of the duties of the Trustee include taking a complete inventory of the assets when he or she begins to act as Trustee; obtaining a tax identification number for the trust; determining values of the assets in the trust, if necessary; investing the money in the trust for the trust beneficiaries; paying expenses of the trust; preparing accountings for the beneficiaries of the trust; preparing tax returns for the trust; and distributing the assets in accordance with the terms of the trust.

Comment: It would be exhausting to come up with all the duties of a Trustee. The Trustee really has to carry out the wishes of the Settlor of the trust. It can be helpful if the Settlor of the trust is fairly specific about his intentions and give guidelines to the Trustees of these intentions.



As always, if you have any questions or would like to learn more, please contact Steve Shane at or 301.575.0313.


Steve Shane Casual | 301.575.0313

Steve Shane provides strategic counseling to clients in need of estate administration, charitable giving and business continuity planning while minimizing estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax exposure. He offers legal guidance to clients on asset protection and the proper disposition of assets in accordance with the client’s objectives, while employing tax planning techniques such as the use of irrevocable trusts, life insurance planning, lifetime gifts and charitable trust. He is also experienced with drafting documents for business planning, the incorporation and application for exemption for Private Foundations and the administration of decedents’ estates.





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