Trustee Duties

The trustee of a testamentary trust is obligated to act using reasonable care and skill for the benefit of the trust and to carry out the intentions of the testator as stated in the will.

A trustee has the obligation to follow the terms and provisions of the trust as stated in the will in respect to the payment of income and/or principal, and for the satisfaction of any and all special conditions and requirements stated in the testamentary trust by the decedent.

The trustee shall take possession of all assets as distributed by the executor of the estate and shall keep proper account of all income, expenditures, gains, losses, and distributions and report them to the Commissioner of Accounts as required by law in the absence of a waiver of inventory and accounts. See Section 64.2-1307, Code of Virginia (1950), as amended, for the requirements which must be satisfied for a waiver of inventory and accounts to be effective. 

The standard by which a trustee is judged is the degree of skill and care of a prudent person.  A professional trustee may be held to a higher standard of care.  The general obligations of the trustee are to preserve the assets of the trust separately from any personal assets of the trustee or the property of any other trust or individual, to make the trust assets productive in terms of income or capital gains, to enforce claims on behalf of the trust and to defend any claims made against the trust.  One of the primary obligations of course is for the trustee to treat the beneficiaries impartially and not to favor one beneficiary over another unless the provisions of the trust specifically allow an unequal treatment of the beneficiaries.