A trustee is required to do three primary things, which include managing, distributing and filing taxes on the assets contained within the trust. When these obligations will kick in is largely contingent upon the type of trust that its owner has set up. There are other responsibilities that trustees are legally mandated to carry out though. If they're unable to do so, then they should allow someone else to be appointed who can.
A trustee's responsibility from the start is to ensure that they clearly understand the trust owner's instructions and terms and that both have and familiarize themselves with past account records. It's also their obligation to make sure that all assets are accounted for and remain protected under their watchful eye. They'll want to know who the beneficiaries are as well.
In addition to protecting and distributing assets contained in the trust, the trustee is also responsible for investing them. This ensures that they'll be preserved and remain productive for existing and future beneficiaries.
Another responsibility of the trustee is to make decisions about when it's best for distributions to beneficiaries to be made.
They're also expected to keep detailed financial records for the trust and to seek a resolution to any tax matters that arise. They're responsible for keeping in contact with the beneficiaries including providing them with account statements and copies of tax filings as well. They should be capable of finding answers to questions posed by them too.
While many trustees are trustworthy individuals who do their best to manage the trust's assets and provide beneficiaries with timely financial records, there are those few bad apples that fail to do what's expected of them. Beneficiaries who find themselves at the mercy of uncooperative trustees may benefit from the advice that a Melbourne trust litigation attorney can offer regarding the next steps that they should take.