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  • Daniel Rodriguez

As a trustee, can I hire an attorney to help me manage the trust?

Being appointed as a trustee exposes an individual to criticisms when handling the trust as well as the trust litigation. Understandably, this puts a lot of pressure on trustees, especially those who have little to no knowledge of trust administration. This is why it is not surprising that some trustees consider hiring a legal professional to guide them through the administration process.

Check the trust document

Before a trustee can make decisions, it is crucial for them to understand every bit of the trust terms. This ensures that the trustee acts according to the settlor’s wishes and to the benefit of the trust beneficiaries. While trust documents usually allow trustees to hire legal professionals to assist in performing their duties, it is still best to ensure that no provision prohibits the trustee from doing so.

Preventing trust litigation

Why should a trustee consider hiring an attorney in the first place? Trust administration comes with a fiduciary duty to act in the beneficiaries’ best interest. This includes timely and reasonably performing duties, responsibly managing the trust assets and exercising transparency with the beneficiaries.

If the trustee fails to perform their responsibilities according to their fiduciary duty, beneficiaries and interested parties can hold them accountable for their misdeeds, albeit unintentional, in trust litigation. A trustee who admittedly lacks knowledge or experience in trust administration would benefit from hiring an attorney for assistance.

Trust administration can be a complex maze to navigate through. If you are a trustee whose goals are to competently and properly perform your fiduciary duties and avoid litigation, you may seek legal guidance to support you through the administration process.

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