“Thought for the Day” #739 – by Stephen R. Elville, J.D., LL.M.

June 13, 2016

Unfortunately, too many trustees of special needs trusts or those who oversee funds for people with special needs don’t even know that they have a duty to account for the funds they manage, let alone perform that duty correctly.  All trustees, representative payees, and guardians/conservators are required by law to keep track of funds under their control.  Sometimes courts require people serving in these positions to provide accountings directly to the court for approval, especially in cases where the court established a guardianship or trust.  Likewise, the Social Security Administration mandates yearly accounting by representative payees handling other people’s funds.  In some cases, typically when a trust is not established by a court, the trustee has a duty to account that is spelled out in the document or by state law.  But in all cases, the person with fiduciary duty has to keep track of the money under his or her control, just like a bank.