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What are the Duties of a Trustee?

The estate-planning process can seem confusing and stressful. However, we write our blog posts to better explain the misconceptions and difficult topics that people often misinterpret and misunderstand. A trustee is an important term to comprehend when learning about estate planning and probate. The trustee is the individual who is held responsible for informing the trust’s beneficiaries, keeping them updated and managing the assets that are in the trust. The individual is appointed as trustee by the grantor or by the court, and must voluntarily accept the position. He/she is unable to resign as trustee without the permission and consent of the court or of all the beneficiaries. However, according to Florida Statute §736.0706, a trustee may be removed if he/she has failed to perform his/her duties or has committed a serious breach of trust. The responsibilities and duties of a trustee differ depending on whether the grantor is incapacitated or has passed away. provides a breakdown of a trustee’s duties listed below.

A Trustee’s Responsibilities and Duties

If the Grantor is Incapacitated

  • Oversees care of ill person

  • Understands insurance benefits and limitations

  • Looks after care of any minors and dependents

  • Applies for disability benefits

  • Puts together team of advisors

  • Notifies bank and others

  • Transacts necessary business

  • Keeps accurate records and accounting

If the Grantor has Passed Away

  • Contacts attorney to review trust and process

  • Keeps beneficiaries informed

  • Puts together team of advisors

  • Inventories assets, determines current values

  • Makes partial distributions if needed

  • Collects benefits, keeps records, files tax returns

  • Pays bills, does final accounting

  • Distributes assets to beneficiaries as trust directs

Additional sources:

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