How To Choose A Trustee
So, you have done the hard work of planning out your estate. You have worked with a lawyer to create a Last Will and Testament that meets all the necessary requirements to be found valid in probate court, and you have created a trust to ensure that as little of your property has to pass through probate as possible. You may be ready to sit back and put your feet up, but not quite yet, there is one more decision to make. It’s time to select a trustee. The trustee is in charge of administering the property in your trust. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong if you pick the wrong person for this role. This is particularly important if the trust must be managed for a person under the age of 18 or some other age that you specify. Of course, your lawyer will be able to help give you guidance in determining who may be a good option for this position, however, we will provide some tips here so that you can start thinking about who may or may not make a good trustee.
Tips for Choosing the Right Trustee
- They should be trustworthy. First off, it is important that a trustee be someone who is very trustworthy. This may go without saying, however, it is still easy to overlook certain red flags. In general, if someone has just recently come into your life, they are not trustworthy enough to serve as your trustee. Additionally, the trustee should not have a conflict of interest with any of the property they are set to distribute. For instance, it is not likely a good idea to appoint one sibling as the trustee of another sibling’s trust, as they may feel entitled to the property and fail to properly administer it. An exception to this could be if the recipient sibling has a disability and their sibling is their caretaker or can otherwise be trusted to administer the trust in the best interest of their care.
- They should be highly competent and detail-oriented. It’s important to recognize that administering a trust is a significant amount of work. While your trustee does not have to have any particular training, such as being a lawyer or a CPA, they should be highly organized, task-oriented, and able to complete a job quickly and efficiently. It is not uncommon when someone appoints a family member as their trustee, for the trust to sit untouched for months or years with no progress being made. The person you choose should also have the time to properly complete the task.
- You should appoint successors as well. Life is unpredictable, and you can put all of your effort into selecting the perfect trustee only to have them pass away, or become unable to fulfill the duties. For this reason, it’s important to appoint successor trustees as well, so that even if your original plan changes, your trust can still be administered according to plan.
Contact Fisher Law, LLC to Schedule a Consultation
If you are located in the Boston area and are ready to make or revise your estate plan, the experienced trust and estate attorneys at Fisher Law, LLC are ready to help. Contact our Norwood estate planning lawyers today to schedule a consultation.