Understanding Legally Trustees are Not the Same as Beneficiaries

Whether you cannot handle the responsibility of your assets and property because you are always out of town or the country for business reasons or maybe you are not very good with keeping your assets and property under control. Or maybe the person who owns the assets or property is dying or already dead, this means they will need a trustee and a beneficiary. Some people don’t know the difference between a trustee and a beneficiary. Keep reading to learn the difference between these two terms and what they do legally.

What is a Beneficiary?

A beneficiary is a lot different than a trustee. The difference is that the beneficiary is the person who will be receiving the assets and property from the trust owner or what they also call the grantor. The grantor is the person who will be providing not just the assets and the property to the trustee for the beneficiary but they also are the ones who have everything written up into the trustees name for the beneficiary. The beneficiary is the person the grantor names as the person they will be leaving their assets and property to.

What is a Trustee?

A trustee is a person who the grantor of the trust trusts to hold on to and protect the title for the assets and property for the beneficiary when they are either old enough legally to take control of the assets and property or financially stable enough to take control of them. The trustee needs to be financially stable as well as trustworthy enough to be able to do the job under the grantor’s wishes. The trustee may receive compensation for doing this for the grantor and beneficiary. The grantor may have more than one trustee and they can either be close friends or family members or an organization or institution that the grantor trusts to keep the assets and property for the beneficiary.

Duties of the Beneficiary

Although the beneficiary of the trust only has one major duty, to receive the assets and property from the grantor through the trustee, they also need to do one other important thing before receiving what has been given to them. Beneficiaries must make themselves familiar with the trust agreement. They must know what they have coming to them and he or she will need to be in contact and on good terms with the trustee. The beneficiary may also have to pay taxes on what they receive from the trust owner.

Duties of the Trustee

The trustee needs to hold on to the assets and property that the beneficiary will someday get until the beneficiary is legally able to get them. The trustee will need to familiarize himself or herself with the trust agreement and also be on good terms with the beneficiary since they will be meeting at times. The trustee will also need to be able to keep good records of everything until it is time for the beneficiary to take control of the assets and property.

Scott Royal Smith is an asset protection attorney and long-time real estate investor. He's on a mission to help fellow investors free their time, protect their assets, and create lasting wealth.

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