What responsibilities are imposed upon a Massachusetts trustee?

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The above headline for today’s blog post can be quickly answered in a single word, namely this: lots.

And coupled with that, it certainly merits mention to any person contemplating naming a trustee for an estate matter or who, alternatively, is considering accepting an offer to be a trustee, that the duties imposed upon a trustee can be both material and diverse.

Certainly it is an honor to be asked to be a trustee, especially if a request is extended to you from a relative, close friend or other intimate acquaintance. Being asked signifies another person’s well-considered view that you should have oversight and an ability to act regarding important family-related matters.

Notwithstanding the satisfaction that might reasonably attach for any person asked to be a trustee, though, it is equally incumbent upon a would-be or already serving trustee to keenly appreciate the challenges linked with administering a trust.

And those can — indeed, routinely are — many, including (as we note on a relevant page of our family law website discussing trust administration) these important matters:

  • Contacting and maintaining reasonable communication with trust beneficiaries
  • Valuing and adequately preserving trust assets
  • Properly distributing assets according to a trust creator’s instructions
  • Handling all required tax-related matters

Although adequately dealing with all those consideration is a doable proposition for some trustees, we stress on our website that many such individuals duly come to appreciate that they “do not have the necessary time, resources or expertise required” to fully care out their duties as a trustee.

A proven trust administration attorney does, and can be a valued ally for any trustee seeking to conscientiously carry out his or her fiduciary duties under a trust.

Trusts are flexible and high-utility estate planning vehicles that command a strong upside in many estate plans. A proven estate administration attorney can help to ensure that they are properly administered in all material respects.