Trustee Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Trustee, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Trustee?

(n) A trustee is a legal entity entrusted with the property of a trust formed under a trust deed or declaration of trust. The trusty holds and manages the property on behalf of the beneficiaries of the trust.

History and Meaning of Trustee

A trustee is a person or legal entity that has been appointed to manage and hold assets in a trust on behalf of the beneficiaries. This role of the trustee dates back to ancient English law and the Court of Chancery. Over the years, it has evolved into a more complex and formalized system, with specific legal requirements and duties.

A trustee must adhere to the terms of the trust and act in the best interests of the beneficiaries. They are entrusted with managing the assets in the trust and making decisions on how to invest or distribute those assets. The position of trustee requires significant financial and legal expertise to ensure that they make informed decisions and fulfill their duties.

Examples of Trustee

  1. In a family trust, a trustee may be appointed to manage the assets of the trust on behalf of the family members who are beneficiaries.
  2. A trustee may be appointed to manage the assets of a charitable trust on behalf of the organization and its beneficiaries.
  3. A trust company may act as a trustee for a large number of trusts, managing and investing assets on behalf of beneficiaries.
  4. An individual may appoint a trustee in their will to manage and distribute their assets according to their wishes after they have died.

Legal Terms Similar to Trustee

  1. Executor - a person appointed in a will to manage the assets of the deceased, similar to a trustee.
  2. Fiduciary - a person or entity responsible for managing assets and acting in the best interests of another party, similar to a trustee.
  3. Guardian - a person appointed to manage the assets and make decisions on behalf of a minor or legally incapacitated person, similar to a trustee.