As a trustee, am I legally responsible if something goes wrong with the administration of the trust?

Yes, as a trustee it is possible that you could be legally responsible if something goes wrong with the administration of the trust. You were not the one who established the trust and you are not responsible for its terms. Additionally, are you not responsible for how the trust beneficiaries and others feel about the trust.

However, You Do Have a Fiduciary Duty to Implement the Trust

As the trustee you have a duty to act loyally. That means that you must implement the terms of the trust in good faith and for the benefit of the trust beneficiaries rather than for yourself. If you breach this duty then you can be sued and held liable for the way in which you administered the trust. Of course, this is not inevitable. If you act in good faith then you may not be held legally responsible just because someone is unhappy.

Take Steps to Protect Yourself

There are a few ways that you can protect yourself from accusations of wrongdoing and the potential liability that comes with it. You can, for example:

  • Keep detailed and careful notes. This can serve as important documentation and evidence if allegations are ever brought against you.
  • Contact a lawyer as soon as you are appointed trustee. A lawyer can advise you as to what actions you need to take to administer the trust so that you do not inadvertently make a mistake.

To learn more about your duty and about how to protect yourself from future litigation, please start a live chat with us now or contact us via this website.

 

James F. Roberts
Founder and owner of the Law Office of James F. Roberts and Associates, a premiere estate planning law firm