Acting as a trustee is a major responsibility. You may not hold this position yourself, but you are the beneficiary of a trust. Your loved one may have protected assets for you to receive later by utilizing this planning tool, and now the trustee is in charge of following the instructions your loved one left behind.
Because the trustee manages the trust, you likely have to communicate with him or her if you have questions or concerns. Of course, getting in touch with the trustee may prove difficult at times, especially if the trust has multiple beneficiaries who make requests. Still, if your requests for information or other actions go unanswered for too long, you may understandably worry that the trustee is not handling his or her duties appropriately.
What should the trustee do?
The trustee has numerous responsibilities in addition to following the instructions your loved one left behind. The trustee needs to keep records regarding the income and payments relating to the trust, keep trust administration costs reasonable, place the interests of the beneficiaries before the interests of the trustee, and keep trust assets and personal assets separate. As a beneficiary, you have certain rights when it comes to gaining information about the trust and its assets. If the trustee seems evasive, he or she may be violating the fiduciary duty.
Though your loved one may have appointed the trustee because a feeling of trust existed between them, that feeling does not always guarantee that the trustee will act in an upstanding manner. In fact, some trustees could commit fraud or otherwise mismanage the trust. If a trustee uses funds from the trust for his or her own gain, fails to keep adequate records for the trust, or does not act in the interests of the beneficiaries, serious problems could arise.
If you believe that a trustee is not acting appropriately, you may first want to speak with the trustee directly. A simple conversation may be able to clear up any misgivings you may have. However, if the trustee will not return your attempts at communication or otherwise will not provide the information you need, you could need to take legal action. Discussing your concerns with a Texas attorney could allow you to gain insight into whether the trustee is acting inappropriately and what steps you could take to address issues.