The executor of your Will may also be a trustee, if a trust is created under the terms of your Will.
A trustee is someone formally appointed to manage the assets of a trust for the benefit of others (known as the beneficiaries). The trust must be administered in accordance with the terms set out in your Will.
While the trust is in existence, your trustees have an obligation to act in accordance with the terms of the trust, as well as in the best interests of the beneficiaries. They are required to act honestly and fairly in their dealings with the beneficiaries.
If there is a conflict between your trustee’s own interests and the interests of the beneficiaries, they should take legal advice on their position.
The duties and responsibilities of your trustees include, but are not limited to:
· Acting in accordance with the terms of the trust;
· Protecting the assets (money, investments, property) of the trust;
· Exercising their duty of care in accordance with the Trustee Act 2000;
· Keeping accounts and records of trust income and expenses;
· Acting fairly between the beneficiaries;
· Taking reasonable care in making investments;
· Acting unanimously;
· Insuring trust assets where this is appropriate;
· Completing tax returns and paying any tax due to HM Revenue & Customs;
· Registering the trust with HM Revenue & Customs;
· Distributing income and capital to the beneficiaries;
· Notifying HM Revenue & Customs if Inheritance Tax becomes payable;
· Declaring all income and capital gains for payment for tax.
A trust can run for many years, depending upon the terms of the trust.
Your trustees can retire as Trustee of the Will Trust. Their retirement must be formally recorded in a Deed and a New Trustee will need to be appointed to take the place of the retiring trustee or trustees.
If you are dealing with the estate of a family member whose Will includes a Will Trust, get in touch if you’re not sure what you need to do.