The trustee role


As well as considering whether a trust is a suitable vehicle for you and your family, what assets you would like to gift and what type of trust you would like to create, your attention should also be directed towards the third component of a trust, the Trustee.

The extent of a Trustee’s duties and responsibilities depends on the type of trust established.

Before appointing or accepting the role of a Trustee, careful consideration should be given to what the position involves. No one should become a Trustee without fully understanding the role.

Many families appoint independent and professional Trustees to provide consistency and certainty in what can be a very complex area of planning. Fortress can provide a professional Trustee service for you. There are many advantages to appointing a professional Trustee. For more information, please click here.

Trustee Duties

The main duties include:

  • To act in accordance with the trust document and the general law
  • A duty of care to the beneficiaries
  • To take reasonable care in making investments
  • To not profit from the trust
  • To protect trust assets
  • To keep accounts
  • To act unanimously

Trustee Responsibilities

One of the main responsibilities on the trustees’ shoulders is to declare and account for any tax arising on trust assets and where necessary the payment of inheritance tax.

  • All of the trustees are jointly liable for any tax due
  • Trustees are responsible for declaring all income and capital gains tax and for its payment.
  • Must notify HMRC if a new trust is established which generates income or capital gains, or if an old trust which previously did not receive income or make capital gains starts to do so.
  • Keep records of the trust’s income and expenses
  • Completing and returning any tax return issued
  • Trustees can be held personally liable for breaches of duty or responsibility.

For more information on the role of a Trustee please contact Edward Bennett.