Living Trusts: How to Fulfill Trustee Responsibilities

Stepping in as a trustee may be an emotionally draining transition, as well as a confusing. Taking over management of a living trust is often abrupt, throwing a new trustees into a role without the necessary knowledge. Living trusts, or an inter vios trust,  is established during the lifetime of the trustor (grantor or settlor), and usually revocable, adding complexity to the requirements of the trustee. 


Roles Involved In Living Trusts

There are typically four parties within a living trust: the grantor, the trustee, the successor trustee, and any beneficiaries who will receive assets once the grantor has passed. As you may have guessed, the grantor – otherwise known as the trustor or trustmaker – is the originator of a trust. 


The trustee is the manager of a trust’s assets. The trustee may be the same as the grantor or trustor, or may be someone completely different.  Married couples may be referred to as co-trustees, since a surviving spouse could then continue to manage the trust in the case of the other’s passing. 


Next, a successor trustee is meant to manage the trust if the trustee is either incapacitated or no longer alive. Most trusts will feature a handful of these, or transfer the trustee duties to a corporate trustee represented by a bank or company. A combination of family and corporate trustee management is possible as well. 

Finally, beneficiaries are those people or organizations which receive certain trust assets once the grantor has passed. 


Responsibilities of a Trustee

Along with following any instructions and obligations in the trust document, there additional responsibilities trustees must specifically follow for living trusts:

  • Trust assets must be kept separate. Never mix trust assets.  Keep separate bank accounts for the trust.  
  • Avoid any favoritism or nepotism when it comes to beneficiaries, unless the trust says otherwise.
  • Never use trust assets for personal benefit. 
  • When it comes to trust investments, risk must be minimal.
  • The trustee is required to keep organized records of the trust assets, file necessary tax returns, and communicate with any beneficiaries according to the trust document.


By carrying out these duties and sticking to the trust document, you can manage your living trust as an informed trustee. Of course, there are legal experts who can assist with your estate planning efforts as well – and professional input is often the preference in delicate situations such as these. 


Contact Gokal Law

Are you struggling with managing your living trust, or need help with the estate planning process? Contact Gokal Law Group, Inc. Our team specializes in litigation and counseling related to trust and probate law and will diligently represent you in the courts. In short, we will give you the support you need to win your case. The sooner you contact us, the more effective we are at getting you the justice you deserve.


Gokal Law Group is a family firm that treats our clients as if they were our own flesh and blood. We fight for our clients as we would our own children, sisters, brothers, and parents. We are our clients’ Warriors, fighting to bring them justice and right the wrongs they have endured.


Each attorney has a specific practice area for which they are tried, tested, and battle-ready. Each has vast years of experience in their practice area, providing them the knowledge, skills, and vision to fight and win. Learn more about Gokal Law Group.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *