What Does a Trustee Do?
A Trustee has numerous legal obligations and duties, which should never be underestimated. Appointing a suitable Trustee is one of the most important decisions that impact the value, longevity, and security of a trust.
A Trustee’s duties include:
- Carrying out the terms of the trust document
- Ensuring that the trust complies with all relevant legislation
- Ensuring that all funds and property held by the trust are obtained and held in the Trustees’ names
- Ensuring that all liabilities are settled
- Acting impartially and even-handedly among beneficiaries
- Managing the trust in the best interests of the beneficiaries
- Acting with loyalty, fairness, and in good faith towards all beneficiaries
- Making decisions and exercising discretion fairly
- Recording decisions appropriately throughout the lifetime of the trust
- Avoiding positions of conflict
- Investing trust assets prudently
- Recording all transactions that take place in respect of trust funds
- Ensuring payment to the correct beneficiaries
- Reporting on the condition of trust assets to beneficiaries in the form of annual trust accounts
- Notifying HMRC of the existence of the trust
- Ensuring tax returns are submitted accurately and on time
- Timely payment of taxes over the duration of the trust
- Keeping up to date with legislative and taxation changes
Trustees and Investing
The Trustee Act 2000 imposed a number of duties in relation to the management of investments. Unless specifically excluded in the trust document, a Trustee has the right to invest in any asset as a reasonable, prudent individual would consider for their own investments. Trustees take professional advice where necessary to ensure that investments are sound and will ultimately improve the value and security of the trust.
While Investment Managers are appointed, they do not absolve Trustees of liability for the investment function of the trust. The Trustee must review the suitability of the Investment Manager against the investment policy statement.
If there is a loss, Trustees are liable out of their own pockets, if the loss is due to a breach of duty. All Trustees should therefore be fully aware of the duties expected of them, and ideally have experience in managing Trusts prior to appointment.
Keystone Trust’s team of qualified trust and estate practitioners have a combined 25 years of experience. We are well-versed in the intricacies of trust management and work closely with a team of experts to ensure that your investments and assets are safe.