Estate Trustee: Duties and Responsibilities

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The essential job of an estate trustee is to manage and distribute (give out) the estate to beneficiaries.

Estate trustees owe a fiduciary obligation to the estate, meaning that they owe the legal obligation of acting in the best interests of the estate. Responsibilities estate trustees hold commonly include:

  • Find the will (if any)
  • Start the probate process by applying (if needed)
  • Make funeral arrangements
  • Pay taxes and liabilities, file all taxes, apply for and receive a clearance certificate (it is recommended to hire an accountant!)
  • Sell property for the maximum value (get the best price)
  • Distribute (give out) the property to the beneficiaries per the will or laws of intestacy and ensure the distribution of the estate is done in a reasonable time frame (typically around one year)
  • Keep an accounting (documentation of financial transactions) and provide updates to beneficiaries




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