A trustee is the person you appoint to handle your trust. They are in charge of making sure that whatever needs to get done under the terms of the trust are fulfilled. You can have one trustee or you can appoint what’s called co-trustees to handle the requirements of your trust. When you have appointed someone as your trustee, you become the grantor because it is your trust and you are the only person who can decide to change the trust because you have sole ownership. In the event that something happens to your trustee, whether they become incapacitated or even pass away, you will have to choose a successor trustee to take their place.
If someone chooses you to be their trustee, you will have a number of responsibilities to take care of. The grantor should explain the different aspects of their trust to you so you are familiar what components it is made up of. The grantor should give you specific instructions to follow when it comes to what to do with their assets and funds. You will have to be the person in charge of any bank accounts, tax filing and investments that the grantor may have.
If the grantor becomes incapacitated for any reason, it is your responsibility to have their finances and health care in order as well as to keep the important people in their life notified of the events that have taken place. In the event that your grantor passes away, you are responsible for any last matters of investing or accounting that need to be taken care of, distributing assets that were left to any beneficiaries of the estate in the grantor’s will and ensure that those beneficiaries are aware of what the best steps to take are in regards to the assets that were left to them.
Being a trustee is a big responsibility but you do not have to do it alone if the grantor becomes incapacitated or passes away. A group of accountants and attorneys can help you with any questions or concerns that you may have during this time.
Juan C. Velasco, Esq. is a trusted attorney who has been serving the New Jersey area for over 25 years. If you are in need of experienced legal counsel, please contact Velasco Law Office and we will be happy to assist you.