Taking on the responsibility of acting as a trustee is an important decision and should be carefully thought through.
Acting as a trustee means you will have the responsibility of looking after money or assets that are being held in a trust and your appointment as a trustee can last for many years.
Trustees owe a duty of care to the beneficiaries in accordance with the Trustee Act 2000. They must act in the best interests of the beneficiaries and act fairly and impartially whilst exercising reasonable care and skill.
Duties and responsibilities of trustees
- The trustees must be fully involved in all decision making in relation to the trust and all decisions must be made unanimously by all the trustees.
- The trustees should be familiar with the type of trust and the trust deeds, which will set out the terms of the trust. They must then act in accordance with those terms.
- When making decisions, the trustees should take into account any ‘letters of wishes’ prepared by the person who set
up the trust.
- The trust funds should be invested appropriately, having regard to the standard investment criteria and the need to diversify the assets. Investment Policy Statements must be prepared, where appropriate, and the performance of
investments should be reviewed regularly.
- Trust accounts should be prepared, where appropriate.
- Trust assets should be insured, where appropriate.
- When valuations of the trust assets are required, the trustees must ensure these are accurate, and take professional advice where necessary.
- The trustees will need to liaise with H M Revenue and Customs and deal with any tax reporting requirements, which can
often be complex.
- The trustees should seek proper advice where appropriate (for example from solicitors or financial advisors), in order for them to carry out their duties properly, and arrange the payment of the professional fees from the trust funds.
- The trustees must ensure there is no conflict between their interests and beneficiaries’ interests.
Acting as a trustee can be complex and often burdensome, but our specialist team of trust lawyers are able to offer professional advice to guide you through the process, or to administer the trust on the trustees’ behalf.