Have you been chosen for a trusteeship in Virginia? Administering a Trust as part of someone’s estate is a heavy responsibility. Trusts are established for various purposes and each may contain specific provisions governing its administration. When you accept a trusteeship, your first act should be to become familiar with the duties of trust administration.
Trusts established in Virginia are governed by state law. While you can explore all the applicable provisions for yourself online, you can gain an even better understanding by consulting with a Probate and Administration Attorney from Promise Law. They are well-versed in the laws and duties of estate and trust administration, and can offer welcome guidance and advice, as well as handle some of the more complex aspects on your behalf.
Below is an overview of the duties of trust administration. Explore this information and the links provided for more information, then contact Promise Law for assistance.
Duties of a Trustee
A trustee is appointed a fiduciary responsibility to carry out their duties, and are bound by both ethical and legal guidelines. The State of Virginia spells out the duties and powers of a trustee under Title 64.2 Wills, Trusts and Fiduciaries, Chapter 7 Uniform Trust Code, Article 8 Duties and Powers of a Trustee. Here are brief explanations of each duty.
- Duty to Administer the Trust in Good Faith – this means you should always act in your role as a trustee with the best interests of the trust and beneficiaries at heart at all times; you also agree to comply with the provisions of the Uniform Prudent Investor Act (§ 2-780et seq.) and the Uniform Principal and Income Act (§ 64.2-1000 et seq.).
- Duty of Loyalty – this means that you will avoid any conflict of interest in your role as a trustee and act solely for the benefit of the trust beneficiaries.
- Duty of Impartiality – this means you will treat all beneficiaries equally and act impartially in regard to their interests.
- Duty of Prudent Administration – you promise to exercise reasonable care, skill and caution as you administer the trust, not placing the assets at inordinate risk.
- Costs of Administration – you are to incur only reasonable costs in your administration of the trust, based on the size of the trust assets and their needs.
- Trustee’s Skills – you agree to use any special skills you possess in your administration of the trust.
- Delegation by a Trustee – you may delegate specific duties of the trustee to persons with special skills who may perform these duties better than you could. Care must be exercised in delegating duties or authority, as you are responsible for their actions.
- Protection of Trust Property – you are responsible to take reasonable steps to control and protect all trust property.
- Recordkeeping – you are responsible to keep adequate records of the trust and all actions performed in its administration.
- Enforcement of Claims – you must take reasonable steps to enforce the claims of the trust and defend claims against it.
- Collecting Trust Property – you must take all reasonable steps to collect trust property from other parties, such as former trustees or other fiduciaries.
- Duty to Inform and Report – as trustee, you are responsible to report regularly to the beneficiaries on the status and business of the trust.
A trustee also has several general and specific powers granted to them, which enables them to administer the trust and care for its assets.
Help with Trust Administration in Virginia
An experienced Probate and Administration Attorney can provide valuable help with trust administration in Virginia. As trustee, you are charged with important duties that are governed by state law; an attorney knowledgeable of these laws can advise you on actions to ensure you are within the law and acting in the best interests of the beneficiaries.
A Probate and Administration Attorney can also help with:
- Collecting and protecting trust assets
- Obtaining a current valuation of trust assets
- Locating and verifying trust beneficiaries
- Preparing notice and reports for beneficiaries
- Settling claims against the trust
- Settling disputes between beneficiaries
- Distributing assets
Failure to properly handle a trust administration can lead to conflict and potential personal liability. Get the advice and help you need from the seasoned attorneys at Promise Law. Call our Newport News, VA office today at (757) 866-3730 or contact us online for help with trust administration. Be sure to ask about a Probate and Administration Workshop that could provide valuable information.