The process of selecting a good trustee can take some time, but it is time well spent. When individuals or families come to us to talk about creating an estate plan that includes one or more types of trusts, we help them select not only the correct type of trust for their needs, but guide them in selecting the right kind of trustee. There are many options when it comes to selecting a good trustee and knowing what factors to consider as you make your choice is importan
Selecting a Good Trustee – Trust Responsibilities
A good trustee needs to be able to manage the duties the trust will impose, which differ depending on the type of trust involved. If you create a revocable living trust, the trustee will need to be able to manage all your personally-owned property you transfer into the trust’s name. The ideal person to do this in most situations is you, the trust-maker.
On the other hand, if you create a testamentary trust to protect the inheritances of your children should you die before they become old enough to inherit property, you’ll need to name someone who can manage property after you are gone. A sibling, trusted friend, or professional advisor might be a good choice in this situation.
If you don’t know people who can reliably manage a trust or do not want to burden your loved ones with complicated or time-consuming duties, you might need to hire a professional trustee.
Selecting a Good Trustee – Practicality
A good trustee will need to be able to fulfill the daily duties and responsibilities that trust management requires. Some of these are basic and require little effort to do effectively. Some responsibilities may be time consuming and require substantial effort. When choosing a good trustee, you’ll need to consider several practical concerns. Is the trustee close enough to the physical location of the trust’s property to manage it or ensure it’s maintained properly? Does the trustee have the time to devote to managing the trust? Is the trustee willing to take on the responsibilities?
Selecting a Good Trustee – Personality
A good trustee is responsible, objective, and able to perform his or her duties as the trust requires. Selecting a level headed person who can act appropriately is essential. This is especially true when the trust involves multiple family members, and doubly so for trusts when the relationship between those family members is contentious. A good trustee will run the trust fairly and responsibly, and will not provoke disputes or enflame already testy family relationships.
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