If you are creating an estate plan, you may have been told that you need to choose a trustee. The role of a trustee in Houston is highly important, so it is essential that you choose someone responsible and reliable. Our seasoned attorneys at Hegwood Law Group could explain the duties of a trustee and help you decide who is the right fit for the job.
What is a Trustee?
A Trustee is the person responsible for managing and administering the items that you, the grantor, have placed in a trust. In Houston, trustees typically use what is called a certification of trust. This is a document that tells entities that they are the trustee of the trust, the trust is in existence, and that they have the ability to do the things that the document says they do.
As a trustee, that individual has a fiduciary responsibility to the trust, which means they have to use the utmost standard of care and a huge responsibility to the beneficiary. Everything that they do has to be aboveboard, and they have to be careful not to make mistakes.
It is not uncommon for trustees to be mixed up with trust and estates lawyers. Notably, an attorney would likely be the person to help set up the document, rather than manage or administer it. However, a Houston lawyer could assist a trustee in clarifying provisions in the trust and make sure they are following the obligations of the role by acting as an advisor.
Additionally, trustees often work with a financial advisor. Many times, trustees are lay persons, so they have a financial advisor that actually manages the assets and the trusts. So, while the trustee is solely responsible for the final decisions, they can allow a financial advisor to guide them and give them advice on how the assets should be managed in the trust.
How Might a Trustee be Removed from the Role?
It is important to understand that the role of trustee in Houston is not permanent. A person designated as a trustee can choose to resign. In such cases, they must give notice (the amount of notice necessary is usually determined by the trust). This notice must be in writing and given to the successor trustee and the beneficiaries as well. After the successor trustee has accepted their resignation, he or she will then take over the role.
There are some instances where a court will remove a trustee from their role. If it is determined that the individual is not meeting their standard of care or otherwise not properly acting within their role, and all beneficiaries are requesting a change, a court may do so. A trustee can also be removed from their role if they are found guilty of engaging in criminal conduct.
Discuss the Role of a Trustee with a Houston Attorney
When creating a trust, it is highly important that you take the time to carefully choose your trustee. This individual has a lot of responsibility and must take the care necessary to fulfill the role of a trustee in Houston. Failure to perform their duties could result in them being removed from the position and potential delay in your beneficiaries receiving assets. Our lawyers at Hegwood Law Group can help you decide who would best fit this role. Call today to learn more.