What is a trustee?

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What is a trustee?

My friend is starting a foundation to help protect against elder abuse because of a situation that involved her mom. I have been supporting her since she began the process. She wants to make me a trustee but I have no idea what it means. I won’t be getting paid and she says I won’t have to do much but she isn’t explaining it as well as I would like. Do I have to do something as trustee? I’m not getting paid so its nothing I have to report to the IRS right? If she writes something on the website that causes a law suit could I be involved? She seems to want some people on the website.

Asked on February 2, 2012 under Estate Planning, New York

Answers:

Hong Shen / Roberts Law Group

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Doesn't sound like a good idea to be a trustee since you know nothing about being a trustee. Just respectfully decline if you do not feel comfortable. But here is the thing. Being a trustee, regardless of getting paid or not, you have lots of duties to the beneficiaries. Typically, you have a fiduciary duty and a duty of care to manage and control the trust fund. You need to collect, protect, invest, and make the fund grow as an ordinarily prudent investor would. You have to maintain accounting, pay taxes, distribute the fund correctly. These are very high standards that you will be held against.


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