above-header-call-for-free-consult

You Have Been Asked to Be A Trustee: What Now?

Jad Stepp

Jad J. Stepp is the managing shareholder of Stepp & Sullivan, P.C., a Houston-based firm that focuses on probate and elder law matters, as well as estate planning, personal injury, aviation, and maritime litigation. For over 35 years he has been trying lawsuits in both federal and state court and has been the lead trial lawyer in complex litigation in many areas.
Jad Stepp

Your friend, Rose, has created a trust and she would like you to be her trustee. You want to help, but you’re concerned about all that responsibility. You would be managing Rose’s property for her and for others whom she names as beneficiaries. You might be paying her bills and taxes, overseeing bank accounts, making investments, collecting rent or unpaid debts, getting insurance if needed, and doing whatever else the trust directs you to do. People named as trustees are considered in law as “fiduciaries.” “Fiduciary” stems from the Latin for “trust.” To merit that trust, you must act in Rose’s best interests, to the highest ethical standards of good faith and honesty.

It is a lot of responsibility, but the government is here to help. The Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFPB) has issued a guide: “Managing Someone Else’s Money: Help for Trustees Under a Revocable Trust.” Download your free guide here.

https://www.consumerfinance.gov/consumer-tools/managing-someone-elses-money/trustee-guides/

The leaflet emphasizes the need to document everything you do. It lists your duties, provides contact information for helpful agencies, and includes advice about what to do if you fear Rose is being exploited.

There is significant work to be done as trustee, but if you need help managing your duties, the leaflet encourages you to consult professionals like lawyers and CPAs, or a range of government agencies. You can also obtain “errors and omissions” insurance to cover you in case you make a mistake.

The person who has asked you to serve in this important role has faith in you, appreciates your ability to get along with people, and believes you can do the job. That is an honor. On the other hand, before you accept, it would be wise to go into this experience with your eyes open, to make sure you’re willing and able to accept the responsibility.

Consult the leaflet first, to familiarize yourself with what is being asked of you. If you have additional questions, the attorneys at Stepp & Sullivan are here to help!

Contact our Houston, TX office at 713-903-3264 and schedule an appointment for assistance in fulfilling your responsibilities as a trustee.

Simple Will, Power of Attorney and Medical Power of Attorney…starting at $595
GIVE YOURSELF ONE OF THE BEST GIFTS:   PEACE OF MIND

Start Today!

Call (713) 336-7200 to speak with one of our qualified attorneys