Choosing the Right Trustee

It is essential that you give important though to choosing the correct estate planning instrument to reach your goals.  Trusts, wills, powers of attorney, and Magnifying Glassliving wills are just a few examples of documents that may help make sure your estate is arranged in the proper way to meet your needs and those of your friends and family.  Just as important as choosing the right instrument is choosing the right person to help make sure the instructions left in your trust documents are actually fulfilled.  You have spent a lot of effort making sure you selected the right beneficiaries and right estate planning documents, so you should also spend time selecting the right trustee.

First, consider selecting someone who is not your spouse or your adult child to serve as trustee.  In general, your immediate family members are likely to be familiar with the people named as the beneficiaries of your trust.  It is not uncommon for trustees and beneficiaries to disagree at some point over the particulars included in the trust documents.  If you have named a spouse or child as trustee, this could result in lingering bitter feelings and even a rift in the family.

Another important consideration is the level of involvement and expertise required to administer your particular trust.  If your trust has specific and simple instructions with little margin for interpretation, choosing a lay person may be appropriate.  However, if your trust is complicated with many contingencies, you may want to consider using a financial professional as your trustee.

Third, consider choosing more than one trustee.  Naming more than one trustee can provide for greater oversight because two people working together will have less of an opportunity to intentionally mismanage the trust.  Conversely, two people working together could also have a higher chance to disagree and result in litigation.  As a result, if you select co-trustees, you should make sure these two people can work well together and resolve disputes without descending into chaos and court involvement at every turn.

Finally, think about whether your chosen trustee is financially responsible and savvy.  It is not required that your trustee have a higher degree in investment banking.  However, it is also not advisable to select a trustee who seems to always outspend their income or be in some type of financial trouble.

Call us today at 651-371-9117 for a consultation.  We will talk to you about trusts and how to make sure yours is structured to achieve your goals