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Delegation by Trustee, Agents

A trust administration can be complex, particularly if it includes securities, real estate or business interests. Sometimes more than just the trustee is needed to make decisions. As a general rule, trustees are entitled to delegate to an agent duties and powers that a prudent trustee could properly delegate under the circumstances. Lorimont Place, Inc. v. Jerry Lipps, Inc., 403 S.W.3d 104, 108 (Mo. Ct. App. 2013).

In making any delegation, the trustee must exercise reasonable care, skill and caution in (1) selecting an agent, (2) establishing the scope of the delegation consistent with the purposes and terms of the trust, and (3) periodically reviewing the agent’s actions to monitor the agent’s performance. Section 456.8-807, RSMo.

When there has been a delegation, an agent owes a duty to the trust to exercise reasonable care to comply with the terms of the delegation. An agent needs to exercise caution because the beneficiaries of a trust could conceivably sue the agent if the agent acts improperly to the detriment of the trust. At the same time, a trustee could also be liable to trust beneficiaries for an agent’s misconduct.

Contact with questions relating to trustees, beneficiaries, breach of trust suits or trust delegation.