A trustee’s role is conceptually simple, yet quite complex.
In its simplest description, the trustee’s role is to steward the legacy of the trust creator for the intended beneficiaries, both current and future, as that legacy is expressed within the governing trust document. Although simple in concept, complexity comes in the application.
More specifically, a trustee’s role is to oversee the legal, tax, finance matters which are required when administering a trust. An additional area of complexity unique to trusts are the details of “principal” and “income”, and how such are differently addressed from both a trust administration and accounting perspective.
But most importantly, and perhaps the most complex, is overseeing how the lives of the beneficiaries intersect with the expressed intent and purpose of the trust. Will this trust become the productive gift which all trust creator’s intend, or will it become a source of generational conflict and friction amongst the family?
The actual result, in large part, may be dependent upon the trustee.