What is a trustee?

Last modified: September 1, 2023
Estimated reading time: 1 min

In Malaysia, a trustee is a person or entity that holds legal ownership and manages assets or property on behalf of another person or beneficiary. The role of a trustee is to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries and administer the assets according to the terms and conditions set out in a trust agreement or instrument.

Here are some key points about trustees in Malaysia:

1. Trustee’s responsibilities

A trustee has a fiduciary duty to manage and administer the trust assets prudently and in accordance with the terms of the trust. This includes protecting and preserving the assets, making investment decisions, distributing income or assets to beneficiaries, and fulfilling any other obligations specified in the trust instrument.

2. Types of trusts

Trusts in Malaysia can be established for various purposes, such as asset protection, charitable giving, estate planning, or managing funds for minors or incapacitated individuals. Common types of trusts include education trusts, charitable trusts, and testamentary trusts created in wills.

3. Appointment of trustees

Trustees can be individuals or corporate entities, such as trust companies. The appointment of trustees is typically specified in the trust instrument or by the settlor (a person who creates a trust). The settlor may also name successor trustees to ensure continuity in trust administration.

4. Powers and limitations

Trustees have powers and authority granted to them under the trust instrument or by law. However, trustees must also adhere to legal and ethical principles, act in good faith, avoid conflicts of interest, and act solely in the best interests of the beneficiaries.

5. Trustee’s remuneration

Trustees may be entitled to receive reasonable compensation for their services, especially in cases where professional trustees or corporate entities are involved. The terms of trustee remuneration are typically specified in the trust instrument or agreed upon by the parties involved.

Trustees play a vital role in managing and safeguarding assets for the benefit of beneficiaries.

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