Trustees in the State of New York | What You Should Know

Creating a comprehensive estate plan is an important part of preparing for the future. Although thinking about life after you are gone can be stressful, it is important to be ready. One of the ways you can pass your assets on to specific beneficiaries is by creating a trust. No matter what kind of trust you choose, it is important to have strong legal representation to guide you through the process. If you require assistance drafting a trust, please read on, then contact an experienced Putnam County trusts attorney to learn what you should about trustees in the state of New York.

Who are trustees in New York?

When you create a trust you must name someone to serve as the trustee. The trustee is responsible for administering the trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust agreement, acting as a custodian for the assets held within a trust. He or she is responsible for managing and administering the finances of a trust per the instructions given. Often, the person who creates the trust is the trustee until they can no longer fill the role due to incapacitation or death.

What do trustees do in New York?

In the state of New York, trustees have the following powers:

  • Buying and selling of Assets
  • Determining distribations to the beneficiaries under the trust instrument
  • Hiring and firing advisors
  • Making income distributions
  • Leasing
  • Administering the trust
  • Defending the Trust
  • Reporting

On the same token, New York trustees are forbidden from doing the following:

  • Stealing from the trust
  • Failing to follow the terms of the trust
  • Mismanaging trust assets including bank accounts, stock, bonds, retirement accounts, pensions
  • Failing to take inventory of assets, including personal and real property
  • Being negligent or careless in investing assets

As a civil penalty, the court can force the trustee to return the property or money, possibly with interest, as well as pay fines and the winning side’s attorney’s fees. The court can also discharge the trustee, replace them with someone else and take away their commissions. There can also be a criminal penalty.

Do you need a New York trusts attorney to help you?

Legally speaking, no, you do not need a New York trusts attorney to help you draft a trust. However, a skilled Putnam County estate planning attorney can make trusts a component of your will or a separate legal entity. At times it may be advantageous to use trusts to avoid the probate process or to minimize estate and income taxes. A trust lawyer can help you decide what’s in your best interest. Life’s difficult enough; let us handle this stressful process.

Contact our Firm

If you or a loved one needs assistance creating an estate plan and wishes to speak with an experienced attorney, contact the Law Office of Andres D. Gil, PLLC today.

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