Estate Executor’s Guide – [Part 4] Long term trustees

Estate Executor Guide Part Series

Every executor is a trustee of estate assets for at least the period until assets are sold and net proceeds are distributed.

Some wills allow for the executor or another person to be appointed as trustee for the performance of extended responsibilities in respect of estate assets.
An executor or trustee may be appointed to administer a life estate and thereafter distribute assets to residuary beneficiaries. Or a trust may be created with discretionary or protective powers in respect of assets.

The purpose of the trust and powers and duties of the trustee are specified in the testamentary trust created by the testator’s will.

Trustee’s roles are also regulated by the Trusts Act.

Generally a trustee must protect the assets and the beneficiaries’ financial and legal interests. In addition to managing their day-to-day financial needs, they should actively pursue all income opportunities and ensure the estate does not suffer financial detriment.

This includes the performance of all executorial responsibilities referred to in Parts I and II of this Guide.

Because the duration of the trust can extend for generations, management of assets and investments is essential; part of that is ensuring assets are adequately maintained and insured, which adds an extra level of responsibility.

Payments for the maintenance and education of infant beneficiaries must be considered and decisions made. These measures must be measured against the importance of preserving the capital of the trust so that it can meet the testator’s objective for the trusteeship period.

Trustees cannot delegate their powers but may and should seek professional assistance, particularly in relation to investment decisions.

Some procedures that long term trustees should put in place include:

  • Appoint real estate agent to manage maintenance and condition of properties;
  • Appoint real estate agent to manage collection of rents;
  • Establish half-yearly inspection and reporting procedures in respect of properties; and
  • Establish procedure for preparation of annual accounts and tax returns if required.

Qld Estate Lawyers are experts in all aspects of estate administration. We can help you through the difficult times by assisting with everything from probate to will disputes.

Estate Executor Guide Part Series

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Last updated: 02 July 2019