question.jpgIn Trusts and Estates

What powers does the trustee have?

The trustee is charged with caring for and managing the trust property. To do this, the trustee must have the ability to control the property, and the trustee can therefore do things like buy or sell the property, rent or lease it, manage the related finances, invest related securities, etc. As for the exact scope of the trustee’s powers, you should look to the trust document itself. Many times the document will include an explicit list of precisely what powers the trustee has. You should also look to the relevant state law. Many states have passed laws which outline what powers the trustee has (unless the trust says otherwise). Other states have more basic laws which simply say that the trustee has any powers that he or she needs to handle the trust property and perform his or her duties. Finally, if the trustee needs the power to do something which is not covered in the trust or by state law, he or she can seek permission from the court to exercise these additional powers. Similarly, a beneficiary can go to court if they want to try to limit the trustee’s powers (this comes up, most typically, where the beneficiary believes the trustee is abusing his or her powers).