When you find yourself in the role of a trustee, you most likely have not been in this position before, and you need to know what to do and how to fulfill your duties. While there is a lot to do in this role, our Peachtree City trust administration lawyers have put together this checklist to help all Georgia trustees who find themselves in unfamiliar territory:
- Gather the trust, trust amendments, restatements, wills, pour-over wills, revoked wills, powers of attorney, deeds to property, and all other estate planning documents. Also gather all trust tax returns and estate tax returns, accountings of trust assets, and any actions.
- Read the trust and all estate planning documents, and make notes of anything you have questions about or anything you think is unusual.
- Find contact information for any other co-trustee, beneficiaries, heirs, or any other interested person, and notify them of the trust. When a trustee fails to use due diligence to identify the right parties, she may be held liable.
- Establish a track system to record communications and financials. It is critical that you maintain an accurate accounting of all trust assets and communications between you and all beneficiaries.
- Determine if you need help or legal guidance with your trust administration duties.
- Contact an experienced Georgia estate planning attorney to review the trust terms, to understand your fiduciary duty, and to review trust assets to make sure you are in compliance.
- Determine if you need to make investment decisions, and discuss with your attorney what your role is regarding investment of the trust assets.
- Have documents and accounting statements prepared that details all the assets, debts, expenses, and income of the trust, as well as distribution of the assets to beneficiaries. Send these statements to all of the beneficiaries and heirs.
- Distribute the assets to all those listed in the trust.
- Collect receipts from all beneficiaries and heirs showing that they received their distribution.
If you find yourself as a successor trustee, and you need some legal advice or questions answered, feel free to contact the Law Offices of Shane Smith at (770) 487-8999 or online through our contact form.