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What powers does a trustee have under Minnesota law?

There are often only a few people whom Minnesota residents trust to handle their most sensitive and private matters. This is particularly true when a certain expertise is required to take care of property or other issues, as the person in charge must be qualified and up to the task.

When it comes to estate planning, one important task is selecting other individuals to handle one's affairs. This choice involves evaluating the person's expertise and capabilities, as well as the person's ability to act in the best interests of others.

For instance, when a St. Paul resident sets up a trust, an important consideration is to determine who will serve as trustee. The trustee is the person who manages the assets of the trust for the beneficiaries of the trust.

The choice of trustee is important because of the great powers given to trustees. Trustees have immense control over trust assets, such as the ability to invest trust assets in certain types of property, including stocks, bonds, real estate and other assets. The trustee can make investment decisions without regard to diversification under Minnesota law. Trustees also may buy and sell property or enter into leases or contracts that the trustee believes are in the best interests of the trust.

Minnesota law also gives trustees power when it comes to claims brought against the trust. For instance, the trustee can pay or settle claims in favor of or against the trust. Along with this authority, the trustee can release claims belonging to the trust and the trustee has the power to prosecute or defend legal actions.

Accordingly, a trustee has a great deal of authority under Minnesota law to handle trust property. For this reason, individuals should carefully consider whom they select to serve as trustee when setting up a new trust.

Source: The Office of the Revisor of Statutes, "2014 Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 501B.81,Section 501B.81" accessed on Nov. 28, 2014

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