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Responsibilities of a Special Needs Trustee

Published March 12, 2010

Being the trustee of a Special Needs Trust is a job that comes with great responsibilities. Many family members consider naming a relative as trustee of their child’s Special Needs Trust. However, some families choose to go with a professional special needs trustee, as they have extensive experience in handling all issues associated with a Special Needs Trust. Before making this decision, families should consider the extensive responsibilities that go along with being a special needs trustee. A special needs trustee is responsible for the following tasks:

• Fully understanding the needs of the beneficiary
• Comprehending the language and intent of the trust document
• Handling an inventory of trust assets
• Collecting income and managing all trust assets
• Maintaining excellent records of all financial transactions
• Obtaining the proper IRS tax registration for the trust
• Filing both state and federal fiduciary income tax returns
• Establishing different accounts to manage the trust assets
• Arranging for the safekeeping and security of trust assets
• Hiring and monitoring service providers
• Maintaining good communication with the beneficiary and his or her service providers
• Assisting in any unforeseen or emergency situations

Although some of these issues can be complex, family members may be able to handle them. However, it may be a good idea to let family members focus on other issues and choose a professional trustee, who has extensive experience in handling those tasks.

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