I've been asked to be a Trustee, what next?
Updated: Jun 2, 2020
If you've been asked to be a trustee, then you need to think carefully about whether this is something you actually want to do. Many people do not realise how much work is involved in being a trustee and the onerous duties that come with it. In addition you could end up being personally liable for losses made by the trust if you do something wrong, whether or not this was intentional.
Although, being appointed as a trustee may be of significant importance to the Settlor (the person appointing you) and you may feel obliged to carry out the role because of this, you should not underestimate the responsibility you will be shouldering.
Administering a trust and looking after the assets can take up a lot of your time. You won't get paid for your time and you can't benefit in any way from your role.
Being a trustee is a long-term commitment, you could well be committing to this responsibility for many years and even decades. You may be appointed as a trustee to look after a child's inheritance until they attain 18, however, you should be aware that trusts can outlive you in as much as they can carry on for a maximum term of 125 years!
You can be appointed solely as a trustee, however, where the trust contains property then a minimum of two trustees is legally required. Trustees must make decisions unanimously and so you will need to consider who your co-trustees are and whether you think you can work together.
We would strongly suggest that you seek professional advice before accepting an appointment as a trustee so that you are made fully aware of your legal duties and obligations, which in turn will help you to make an informed choice as to whether this is something you want to do or whether appointing a professional trustee would be preferred.
You can find out more about what trustees do here.