As Primary Georgia Trust Litigation Lawyer in an Atlanta Trust Litigation Law Firm, beneficiaries named in a Georgia trust are entitled to understand the terms of the trust and what the trust will provide to them, both present and future. This can be critical to the lives of surviving minor children, spouses with no other source of income, or incapacitated individuals who must now rely on the trust to take care of their medical and living expenses. Trustees are in charge of managing and protecting trust assets in a transparent manner that upholds the trustee’s fiduciary responsibility to the beneficiaries.
One of the important fiduciary duties of Georgia trustees is to ensure that assets and property held by the trust are properly accounted for and reported to the beneficiaries. This is the foundation for trust in the trustee/beneficiary relationship. Some trust documents outline the procedures that beneficiaries must follow to request accounting information. In cases where the trust does not provide the procedure, Georgia law regulates when and how to request an accounting of trust assets. An experienced Georgia Trust litigation attorney can help beneficiaries better understand the accounting information they are entitled to and how to obtain it from the trustee.
Part of the duties of a trustee is to follow generally accepted accounting procedures (GAAP) for the recording of operating transactions. While it may be best to use an accountant to handle the accounting requirements, trustees can do this themselves. The trust’s assets and liabilities must be recorded. Assets can include real estate, stocks, bonds or any other property or asset that the trust owns. Liabilities are classified as debt and should be recorded at current values. Liabilities can include taxes owed, accounts payable or deferred tax liability. Expenses should also be recorded in a timely manner. Trust expenses can consist of the trustee’s salary, investment fees, office supplies, rent, and any applicable utilities. Moreover, an experience experienced Atlanta Trust Lawyer can help you determine if your Trustee is investing according to the Prudent Investor Rule and not putting your trust assets at risk.
Finally, the trust’s revenue must be tracked. Revenue can be generated when bank accounts held by the trust accrue interest income, stock and mutual fund portfolios earn gains, and property is sold. In the end, the timely and accurate recording of assets, liabilities, expenses, and revenue will allow the trustee to easily create documentation that shows beneficiaries the total value of the trust. Failure to provide this information to beneficiaries is a breach of fiduciary duty and can result in the removal of the trustee.
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