Serving as a trustee means that you have a fiduciary duty to the trust itself and its beneficiaries. You need to put the best interests of the people who should benefit from the trust above your own wishes.
Sometimes, trust administration involves the sale of trust assets. Whether there are real estate holdings, investment accounts or physical assets that you need to sell, you need to take specific steps before conducting any major transactions.
Refer to the trust documents
Sometimes, there are specific instructions about what you need to do with particular assets. The sale of certain property might violate the instructions left behind by the testator or the rights of individual beneficiaries.
Inform beneficiaries of your intent to sell
While the goal of the sale of trust property will be money that you can distribute among the beneficiaries, some may want to retain the assets used to fund the trust. If you let them know that you plan to sell certain property, they may ask for the first right of refusal. Agreeing to such requests will limit challenges to the steps that you take as a trustee.
Determine a fair market value for the property
Selling assets to benefit a trust won’t do much good if you don’t get the most that you can for specific assets. The greater the value of an item is, the more important it is to have an accurate understanding of its current fair market value. Bringing in an outside professional to appraise the item can be a smart decision.
Giving yourself time to consider multiple offers can help you get the best value for trust assets. Those tasked with trust administration, especially if it involves the sale or management of complex assets, may require guidance and support in their role as trustee from an experienced estate planning attorney.