Are you having a hard time deciding on a Trustee for your estate plan? It is not uncommon for decisions like this to be difficult.
Let’s look at the attributes that should be taken into consideration when choosing a Trustee. You may want to factor in age, maturity, responsibility level, physical location, your personal relationship with them, and ability to handle money.
What will your Trustee do?
Your Trustee, once appointed, will have the responsibility of managing and distributing your assets according to your wishes. They will work together with your beneficiaries, advisors, and other fiduciaries.
Since your Trustee will be working with other parties, it is prudent to consider any existing feuds or other possible sources of discord that may affect the administration of your estate. If you foresee your choice of a Trustee conflicting with another party, you may wish to consider another person to serve as trustee. Alternately, you may be able to reduce the discretion granted to your Trustee. By doing this, your estate plan may not be as flexible and your goals may not be met.
What do I mean by discretion?
The Trustee is often granted broad discretion in fulfilling their duties. For example, your Trustee can be given the discretion to make distributions to a beneficiary for their needs of health, maintenance, education, and support.
If a beneficiary does not agree with the Trustee’s discretion, you may be able to reduce the possibility of friction by choosing one sibling to serve as trustee for another adult sibling, or an ex-spouse to serve as trustee for children from that marriage.
Avoiding family strife
When you cannot think of an appropriate Trustee due to conflicts, it may be best to name a professional fiduciary or a bank or trust company to serve as Trustee. These trustees would be unbiased and not involved in familial conflicts.
Hopefully this article has given you some valuable thoughts and ideas to ponder while choosing your Trustee. If you still have questions about creating an estate plan, the role of a Trustee, call an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney.
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