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What does an estate trustee do?

An estate trustee has the responsibility of carrying out the terms of the trust estate as set forth in an estate or trust document. A trust (estate) can be created by the language found in a will or a document created during life. If the former, it is a testamentary trust; if the latter, it is a living trust. The trustee is usually a person named by the creator of the trust in the trust document. In some cases, the trustee cannot carry out his or her duties either because of incapacity or death. If there is no named successor trustee who can serve, the court has the responsibility of appointing a successor estate trustee, usually someone who is nominated by the trust beneficiary(s), or by petition by an independent.

Estate trustee duties can include funding the trust with appropriate assets, safeguarding assets, investing the trust assets according to the Prudent Investor Rule (as set forth in the Probate Code), reporting to beneficiaries (as set forth in the Probate Code) filing income tax returns for the trust and making distributions in accordance with the trust terms.

What is an executor?

An executor is any individual appointed by the probate court to administer the estate of a person who has died, referred to as a “decedent.” This person will either act as an Executor if named in the will, or as an Administrator if not named in the will, or if there is no will. The executor inventories and safeguards assets, collects income, verifies and pays obligations, identifies and notifies heirs and beneficiaries, and distributes assets.

Estate or Trust Administration

A trustee will manage investments, keep records, manage assets, prepare court accountings, pay bills (depending on the nature of the trust) medical expenses, charitable gifts, inheritances or other distributions of income and principal. Trustees are not required to exercise all of the powers that they are granted.[2] A trustee can manage any number of trust types, including Charitable, Special Needs Trusts, ILIT, Corporate, and Estate Trusts.

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Conservator / Committee

The term conservatorship is synonymous with elderly guardian but used mostly in the western United States. It is a court-appointed process that can be very expensive as the petitioners and proposed conservatee all must be represented by attorneys, with just a few exceptions for in pro per family members without objections. The reason for the expense is that the proposed conservatee's estate is expected to bear the burden of the court costs in the procedures to appoint.
 

Powers of Attorney

Under common law, a power of attorney becomes ineffective if its grantor dies or becomes "incapacitated," meaning unable to grant such a power, because of physical injury or mental illness, for example, unless the grantor (or principal) specifies that the power of attorney will continue to be effective even if the grantor becomes incapacitated. This type of power of attorney is called "power of attorney with durable provisions" in the United States or "enduring power of attorney" elsewhere. In effect, under a durable power of attorney (DPoA) [1] Read more

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