Who Should You Trust? Picking a Trustee is a Very Important Decision

February 6, 2015

Many estate plans include some type of trust either during life or after death.  If you're setting up a trust, who should be your trustee?


This is an issue people deal with often by naming a relative or confidant to oversee their trust when they are unable.  That's a natural feeling, having someone you trust to handle your affairs when you can no longer do so.


Often people name their attorney or CPA as well, maybe as a co-trustee with a relative or friend.  These can work out well, provided their professionals have experience handling trusts and will be around when they are needed.


Professional trust companies can provide longevity if you set up a trust that will last many lifetimes, like dynasty trusts.  Or you can instruct your personal trustees to name successors that they know and trust to carry on your wishes.


Having a professional act along with a relative or friend can remove the family or personal drama from decisions made after you're gone.  But the non-professional adds a lot of value by understanding family issues and idiosyncrasies.


Have a business that needs to be run by a trustee?  Consider a key executive to be the trustee for that asset-family or professionals may be clueless on how to run things.


A Trust Protector, not a common feature in trusts yet, can add a level of comfort.  The Protector can be empowered to make administrative changes to the trust document, including replacement of trustees, without going for court approval.


No matter who you trust with your affairs, be sure to review your estate plans at least every five years.


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