If you have been named a trustee or asked to be a trustee of an estate in California, it is essential that you understand the duties of the position. This is a very important role in the estate. You have great responsibility and liability. Not knowing what your duties are and what you have to do can be a serious mistake.
Fidelity explains the main job of a trustee is to act as the legal owner of the assets in the trust. While you have legal control, you still must follow what is outlined in the trust as to disbursement and handling. You are the one who ensures the assets get into the right hands as desired by the person who creates the trust. Because of this, you must completely understand the terms of the trust.
You are bound by your legal responsibility to handle and manage the trust assets properly. If you mishandle them, you may hold personal liability. You may have to invest the assets and make decisions along the way as you hold legal ownership. You should make any decision carefully with the heirs in mind and do what is in the best interest of the trust.
You also must handle the administrative needs of the trust. This includes preparing documents, filing taxes and communicating with the beneficiaries as needed. If they have questions, you must be able to answer them. You basically serve as the authority on the trust. This information is for education and is not legal advice.