What is the role of the Trustee?

A Trustee has financial responsibilities to distribute the funds in a trust for the benefit of a child with additional needs. They can make financial decisions about a child’s money, yearly budget, key purchases, paid support, financial investments and other financial decisions that affect your child.

Each child has different financial capabilities.

It is up to the Trustees to gauge the financial and decision-making capabilities of your child and how much involvement they will have in these decisions.

The Trustees have an important role in ensuring your child’s finances are in order.

Making Financial Decisions

A Trustee is obliged to make good decisions that a person would normally exercise in managing their own financial affairs. This includes applying any inside knowledge about what your child needs and what would be in your child’s best financial interest.

We encourage all Trustees to hire professional help in areas in which they are not qualified. These can be financial advisers, legal advisors, and/or tax advisors. The trust can pay for these professionals, and they will be able to operate the trust with the reassurance that all reporting and tax return requirements are being met.

When does a Trustee take over the role?

Nominated Trustees can be changed at any time. Usually, parents stay in control of all financial decisions for their children until their passing. At this point, the last people nominated as your legal Trustee will be given the powers through the execution of your Will.

This will be when your Trustees will be involved in financial decision-making for your child, and their role will continue until they see it fit to pass it on to somebody else.

Involve your Trustees?

My final point is to encourage your Trustees to regularly communicate with your child and their Guardians so they can prioritise where the money is to be used. Some things in your child’s life might cost very little but could mean so much. This is why it is so important that your Trustees have a deep understanding of your child’s financial priorities.

Help your Trustees by keeping your Letter of Wishes up to date.