How a Trustee Should Communicate

The Successor Trustee of a Revocable Living Trust is the lifeline between the affairs of a decedent’s estate and the beneficiaries. If beneficiaries have no idea what is happening with the estate settlement process, they may feel like they have no control and may begin to protest the actions of the Trustee. As Trustee, you must always keep the lines of communication open.

It is a good idea to begin the process of proper communication early. Share with all beneficiaries what assets are within the Trust and what actions you are considering taking with those assets. Let them know what responsibilities and powers you have as Trustee, and give them a general idea of how long you think it will be before the preliminary duties are finished and you can pass out inheritances.This initial meeting or written letter to Trust beneficiaries is important to show from the beginning that you are on their side and you do not intend to hide information about the estate.

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By law, you are required to advise Trust beneficiaries of major actions, such as the sale of real estate. You must do so through notices to each beneficiary. You are not required to let beneficiaries know every single action you take, but it is a good idea, to advise them before you take major actions or if you feel they may object to a decision you have made.

There is a good chance that among the group of beneficiaries one or two may question a decision that made you Trustee. There is also a chance you may simple come across a beneficiary who wants to know everything you do. This may seem irritating, but do what you can to appease the interest of these beneficiaries. By doing so, you will make your job easier in the long term.

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