In this video, Douglas Tannahill, Senior Partner lawyer with Tannahill Lockhart & Clark Law, provides important information about the role and requirements of an Estate Trustee or Executor.
Now we often get a number of questions from our clients when they are nominating a Trustee in their will, and one of the recurring questions is whether that person needs to have experience managing financial issues. The answer we provide them is no, they don’t. The most important thing that a Trustee must know is what the wishes of the deceased were and familiarity with the assets and affairs of the deceased. A trustee can always work with an accountant or lawyer to deal with the more complicated part of administering an estate. An Estate Trustee’s obligations are to distribute the assets of the estate in accordance with the will, pay off any debts of the estate, and to guard the value of the assets of the estate before they are distributed. With regards to guarding value of the estate, you do not need to be a financial guru or an investment wizard; you need simply to act in a reasonable manner to ensure that the assets are not spent in an entirely frivolous manner.
It is important to note that the Estate Trustee is personally liable for the distribution of the estate. That means if you are negligent as estate trustee your assets could be at risk in a lawsuit personally; not just the assets of the estate. Over the years our law firm has helped hundreds of clients with their will and estate planning including guidance and direction on choosing an Executor, and detailing the responsibilities of someone in that role.
We also have experience in Power of Attorney litigation, so we are knowledgeable about what can result if proper legal guidance is not provided in establishing a Power of Attorney designation. Contact us if you have a legal issue or visit our office to meet with us.
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