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What are the trustee’s responsibilities in a revocable trust?

One of the most powerful estate planning tools a Florida resident has at their disposal is a revocable trust. Also known as a “living trust” and “revocable living trust,” the revocable trust has at least two critical people involved: the trustee (the person who holds title to property in the trust) and the beneficiary (the person designated to benefit from the trust).

Many Brevard County residents with substantial estates choose to establish a revocable living trust that gives them the flexibility to change beneficiaries (or to establish conditions for how beneficiaries will receive assets) as life-circumstances evolve. Among the many questions people want answered before they establish a revocable trust: what are the trustee’s responsibilities?

In many cases, the person who creates the trust (known as the “grantor” or “settlor”) also serves as trustee, though not always.

In addition to being responsible for management of the trust’s assets, the trustee has several other responsibilities, including:

  • Holding trust property
  • Investing trust assets
  • Distributing trust income to beneficiaries according to terms of the trust agreement
  • Making tax decisions for the trust
  • Documenting all trust transactions
  • Issuing account and tax statements to beneficiaries

Who can be the trustee? Just about anyone, including you. The trustee does not have to live in Florida and does not have to be a relative. The trustee can be a professional advisor, a friend, a corporate trustee (a bank or trust company) or a family member.

The choice of trustee is clearly an important one that should get careful consideration. An experienced Brevard County estate planning attorney can discuss with you the benefits of a revocable trust and choice of trustee.

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