The article gives an analysis of Professional Trustee Services. Setting up a trust means handing over responsibility for your money and assets to a third party or ‘trustee’. While many people opt to appoint a family member or close friend to this position, using the professional trustee services offered by financial organisations delivers many advantages.
Day-to-day trust-management is complex – individual trustees may lack the time and experience to run a scheme effectively or be personally invested in a way which hampers their objectivity. In these circumstances, using professional trustee services is a way to avoid those pitfalls and deliver the peace of mind that the settlor’s money is being managed appropriately.
What do professional trustee services involve – and how can they help you?
In order for any trust to run smoothly and efficiently, it is essential that issues concerning the scheme are carried out in accordance with any relevant regulations and documentation. General duties which accompany the management of a trust scheme include:
- Taxation and bill payment: the management of a trust involves frequent administrative costs and procedures.
- Investment of assets: a trustee should be able to invest and manage the assets of a trust to best serve the needs of beneficiaries and the aims of the settlor.
- Income distribution: a trustee should understand how and when assets involved in a trust should be released to beneficiaries.
- Meeting with other trustees: decisions taken regarding the management of a trust often require the unanimous decision of a board of trustees.
Beyond obligatory administrative duties, a professional trustee provides a valuable communication-link between parties, able to advise lay-trustees, settlors and beneficiaries of their needs and responsibilities in the event of uncertainties or contentious decisions. Whether acting individually or collectively, an unbiased, professional body, managing the development of a trust over time, offers a continuity and stability which may be lacking in the appointment of friends or family to trustee positions.
Professional trustee services go further than simply carrying out the terms of a trust or overseeing matters of best-financial-practice. Financial organisations employ experts with years of experience, including lawyers, accountants and actuaries, who offer opportunities to tailor their services to the needs of individuals and maximize a trust’s potential – from small portfolios to large estates and company pension schemes.
Finding the right trustee…
The costs and fees involved in the employment of a professional trustee will reflect the duties outlined in the original trust agreement. Available resources may also be a factor, since certain financial strategies or ambitions for a trust may carry more risk than others and require more significant investment.
Appointing a professional trustee is by no means mandatory, but the role they play and the services they offer should be significant considerations of any agreement. There are countless complexities involved in the management of a trust – and it is important that trustees are in the best possible position to handle them. Ultimately, the trustee’s role is to serve the interests of the beneficiaries and, since different types of trust suit different types of trustee, taking the time to research the specialities of an organisation is worthwhile.