Being made the trustee of your parent's trust is a significant responsibility, and it's important that you understand what will be expected of you. After all, if you've never been in this role before, you may not be prepared for the process that's ahead. If you want to ensure that you are fulfilling all of the expectations of the position, there are a few things to consider. Here are a couple of tips to help you in your role as trustee.

Read the Entire Trust Document

Your parents would have worked with an elder law attorney to create the trust document, and it's the best place to start to determine what the specific requirements are for you as their trustee. If there's something in the document that isn't clear or you don't completely understand, you can reach out to an attorney for clarification.

Open a Separate Account

It'll be easier for you to manage the finances if you open up a separate bank account for the funds of the trust. It gives you a central location for all of the financial activity to go through. This simplifies your reporting and makes it easier for you to monitor the costs.

Generate Annual Reports

As a trustee, it's important to keep the beneficiaries of the trust in the loop at all times about the activity on the account. One of the best things that you can do for this is to generate routine reports that address the activity in the account. This will show the beneficiaries exactly what was spent and what it was spent on. You may find that your beneficiaries want information frequently. If so, you can provide statements on a monthly or quarterly basis.

Be Proactive About Investing

It's up to you to manage the investment of the funds in the trust. That doesn't mean you should be reckless about it, but it does mean that you'll want to be attentive to the investments. Look for investment opportunities that are sound, logical investments, because that's the best way to get a productive return on the funds. Talk with the beneficiaries and an elder law attorney about what your options are before you start investing, though, because you'll want to take the financial wishes of the beneficiaries into consideration. They may want you to be more aggressive about the investments or more conservative, depending on how much they are willing to risk.

Talk with an elder law attorney such as Cormac McEnery for more details.