Being asked to serve as a trustee means that someone trusts you enough to manage property and act responsibly. While this should be a compliment to you, you need to take some time to consider if being a trustee is right for you. Becoming a trustee requires you to perform specific duties professionally and responsibly, and if you are unable to do so you may end up facing legal difficulties. Here are a pair of situations in which you should probably decline to serve as the trustee if asked.
The trust currently faces a pending lawsuit
Trusts can be sued just like people or organizations. If the trust you are asked to manage is already facing a lawsuit, or people are threatening to sue the trust, you may want to decline serving as trustee. While you will not have to pay for the trust’s legal fees yourself, defending the trust from the lawsuit may require you to spend a lot of effort and time. If you don’t have this time available, you should probably decline the offer.
You have a difficult relationship with the beneficiaries
As the trustee your primary job is to do what is in the best interests of the beneficiaries. If you and one or more of those beneficiaries do not have a good relationship, this could lead to a combative environment and even lawsuits down the road. Any time you and some of the beneficiaries are at odds, you should probably not serve as trustee.
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