A trustee is a fiduciary under a legal arrangement whereby a person, often referred to as a “grantor,” makes a gift to beneficiaries, the details of which are to be fulfilled by the trustee under a document known as a trust.The trustee is responsible for carrying out the wishes of the grantor, as set forth in the trust, in a prudent and efficient manner.
The lawyers at HEK often serve as trustees for clients and their families. For various reasons, clients often hesitate to have their trusts solely in the hands of family or corporate fiduciaries, yet they recognize that a level of professionalism is required for the careful management of family wealth. Our firm’s lawyers contribute to the highest standard of trust management for families, often as co-trustees with family members or trust companies, and often as the “quarterback” of the team seeking to carry out the wishes of the grantor of the trust, both during the lifetime of the grantor, and after he or she is gone.
The administration of a trust requires a range of skills, knowledge and capabilities, including:
- Asset management
- Records management
- Experience in human affairs and family dynamics
- Knowledge of the duties and potential liabilities of being a trustee
- Keen awareness of the laws and standards by which the performance of trustees are judged.
HEK lawyers gain a deep understanding of the wishes of the grantor and the circumstances and needs of the beneficiaries for both the short and long term. We participate in the choice of investment advisors and work with them to establish the levels of risk and reward required to carry out the grantor’s wishes and meet the beneficiaries’ needs. We oversee the custodianship of the trust assets and the necessary record keeping and tax compliance.
The successful creation and management of trusts is truly a team effort among the grantor, the trustees, the advisors and the beneficiaries. We welcome the opportunity to be a member of that team, either as a trustee or their legal counsel.