Angelique carries out the terms of the special needs trust and is careful to administer it according to the legislation covering the terms. As Trustee of a SNT, she carries out the duties as defined above as well as:
• Distributes payments to beneficiaries
• Preserves public benefits for beneficiaries
Trustees are persons who have a legal right to administer the property of someone else because that person so directs in the will or trust document. The trustee usually holds and manages the assets, pays beneficiaries as they come due, and distributes any balance at death according to the plans established by the settler or owner of a trust. The most common form of trust is the living trust. A living trust is created by a settler after the settler dies, and it can be used by any individual to provide for the management of property while the settler is alive. A living trust cannot create or qualify as a grantor trust, which applies to individuals who die without a will, and are therefore subject to the probate of their wills.
What is a Trustee?
A trustee is an individual or institution given legal authority to make decisions on behalf of another, such as a person or organization, by holding legal title to the property for the benefit of others. Trustees are usually individuals who are granted legal authority by a settler or owner of a trust. A trustee is legally empowered to provide the resources of trust property to beneficiaries, administer trusts and the management of trustee accounts according to the terms of the trust.
Ways to choose a Trustee
Think about the experience of the trustee
Some people prefer trustees with long years of experience to those with short term experience. Although the former is more expensive, it is better to have a trustee with long years of trust experience, who will have the ability to understand all facets of the administration of trusts.
Think about the reputation of the truste
A trustee should be chosen, who has a strong reputation because he would not look into all investment options available in order to earn money, but would only consider those which will benefit his beneficiaries and will help them to stay secure after his death.
Think about the skills of the trustee
Some trustees are not good at handling money. They will deposit all their funds in their bank account and leave the administration of it to the administrators. These trustees, who do not have good enough knowledge about trust laws and administration, are called trustees with limited competence or limited intelligence.
Activities of a trustee
A trustee is a fiduciary, an independent person who administers the trust and manages the assets. The trustee should act at all times in the interests of any beneficiaries and must not use their position to benefit themselves or others. Trustees must also be honest, and competent and fulfil their duties so that no one has any cause for complaint or mistrust. Trustees need to be alert at all times to the needs of the trust and must keep up to date with the law, including changing legislation and changes in the tax regime.
The trustee must safeguard trust assets, which may include property, investments or cash. This means handling and protecting the assets, investing them where appropriate and ensuring that no one can make a claim on them.
Reports to beneficiaries
A trustee must act with as much openness and transparency as possible, especially when it comes to dealing with beneficiaries. Trustees must report any important decisions made on behalf of the trust to beneficiaries.
Submits accountings as required
Trustees must submit an accounting of their activities to beneficiaries at least once a year. This is normally done in the form of a trust report.
Files tax returns
A trustee must prepare tax returns reporting their income and gains by filing with the relevant authority.
Administers the trust
The trustee is responsible for administering the trust and the assets held on behalf of beneficiaries. The trustee must store, invest, insure and sell assets to maximise the benefits for beneficiaries.