lawyer in meeting

The appointed trustee of your revocable or irrevocable trust must handle their role and responsibility with white gloves, so to speak. This is because any misstep while in this position may cause them to lose control over the management and administration of your trust’s property and assets. Further, they may be left in a tailspin that makes them unequipped for handling any other bumps down the road. Read on to discover the common mistakes a trustee must avoid making and how a seasoned Broward County trust lawyer at The Probate Lawyers can step in to offer the necessary guidance.

What is the role and responsibility of a trustee?

The first mistake your appointed trustee may make is failing to understand what this role exactly means. Namely, their role entails using and distributing property and assets for the purposes set out in the trust’s terms, along with accounting for and reporting on trust assets for tax and regulatory purposes, among other things. At the bare minimum, this role requires significant knowledge of Florida estate planning laws, along with a basic understanding of Florida investment policies, tax laws, real estate laws, etc.

So, it may be, unfortunately, too late when your trustee realizes they are unable or unwilling to fulfill this role. Thereafter, the state of your trust may be jeopardized, and your beneficiaries may be negatively affected. This is all to say that you must do more than simply inform a certain individual that you intend to designate them as your trustee. Rather, you must verse them on their roles and responsibilities and then get their explicit permission to be designated as such.

What are common mistakes a trustee must avoid making?

Along with being ignorant of the roles and responsibilities of the position, there may be other common mistakes that your appointed trustee may be susceptible to. The common denominator for all these mistakes is your trustee, sadly, breaching their fiduciary duty. More specific examples read as follows:

  • Your trustee may assume it is okay to borrow your trust’s property or assets for their benefit.
  • Your trustee may assume your trust can run itself instead of stepping in to make certain investment decisions.
  • Your trustee may assume they can change your trust’s terms without being granted permission by the Florida probate court.
  • Your trustee may assume the expected roles and responsibilities do not apply to them while you are still living but incapacitated.
  • Your trustee may assume they can rely on the no-contest clause within your trust to protect them from backlash with any mistakes they make.
  • Your trustee may assume it is unnecessary to build a trusting relationship with your beneficiaries while executing their roles and responsibilities.

There is no time like the present to appoint your trustee. So, at your earliest possible convenience, please get in touch with a competent Broward County estate lawyer at The Probate Lawyers.