A trustee is legally responsible for assets held in a trust and is required to manage the trust in accordance with the settlor’s wishes (the settlor is the person whose monies/assets were placed into the trust). The powers of the trustee are provided by law and will also normally be set out in the will or trust deed.
A trustee must:
- Deal with and manage the trust in accordance with the will or trust deed (including deciding how to use and invest the trust property/monies)
- Act impartially and fairly to all beneficiaries;
- Act with reasonable care and skill;
- Ensure trust assets are secure (including insuring trust property);
- Keep sufficient records in order to show that the trust has been managed properly;
- Not benefit himself/herself
Trustees typically have the following powers:
- To delegate certain powers to professional bodies (such as solicitors or accountants);
- To be paid for their work (but only where they are a professional trustee, such as a solicitor or accountant).