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Fiduciary duties as a trustee can be daunting

If you have been newly appointed as the trustee of an estate, you have a fiduciary duty to uphold the grantor's wishes when it comes to distributions and investments. The Colorado Fiduciaries' Powers Act sets out more guidelines than just the terms of the trust and those deemed as appropriately necessary to carry out the wishes of the trust.

The Act gives guidelines to govern your role but in a case where the trust's guidelines differ from those in the Act, the trust's requirements take precedence.

Being a trustee can be daunting and time-consuming. For tax purposes, you have the added responsibility of navigating taxes for the trust and making sure you file appropriately with the state as well as the IRS. Since you have to agree to be a trustee, you have a duty to understand and perform your role according to the grantor's wishes. Since trusts can serve any number of purposes, from managing an elder's care to distributing money to children as needed, your role can vary accordingly.

As a trustee, you must always recognize the needs of the trust before your own. You cannot favor one party over another and you must loyally serve the trust first and prudently.

Your attorney for the trust should be able to tell you if the Colorado Fiduciaries' Powers Act governs the trust. An attorney may also play a valuable role in answering your questions regarding your fiduciary duties and many decisions involved in distribution, taxation and delegation of trust finances and responsibilities.

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