When bank accounts are involved, it may be the administrator’s job to write checks.
A trust is a legal arrangement that allows a person to deposit assets and distribute them later in accordance with certain predetermined instructions. A trustee is the party that oversees the trust while it holds assets. Trustees can be financial institutions, relatives or neutral third parties. In some cases, trustees’ responsibilities and obligations are regulated by law, however, there are generally no requirements that qualify or disqualify a person from being chosen to operate in that capacity.
Trusts are usually established because a person has assets that they want to distribute in a specific way in the future. This type of arrangement differs from a will in several ways. One is that, until the time of distribution, the assets are supervised by a trustee. This individual can be considered a guardian of the assets. It is usually chosen by the person or group that established the trust.
While the assets may not be in the physical possession of the administrator, it is your responsibility to maintain control over them. The trust agreement may specifically describe the administrator’s requirements and limitations. The type of assets that must be managed and distributed will also help determine what the administrator’s role is. For example, when there are bank accounts, it may be your duty to monitor balances and issue checks. When there is property to be treated, the trustee may be responsible for ensuring maintenance and collecting rent, if the properties are leased.
Although trustees act as overseers, they may not perform all duties alone. There may be some specialized tasks that they don’t have the ability to perform, such as reading or writing legal documents and choosing safe investments. Trustees may have the authority to choose individuals to perform these tasks and to relieve them of their duties if necessary.
A good trust agreement provides specific details for asset distribution. These details may include the standards and types of services and products allowed. For example, a fund left by a grandmother to pay for her grandchildren’s medical needs might dictate that certain facilities should be used and that certain treatments, such as abortions, should be excluded.
Sometimes the details are not specific and the administrator may have to make decisions about whether or not to take certain actions. When a trustee makes a decision, he must always consider the original intent of the person who initiated the trust. Furthermore, his actions should always be in the best interest of the recipients.