If you are considering including a trust in your estate plan, you may have already begun thinking about who you want to serve as trustee. You may think about selecting a friend or a family member to serve in this role. You may want to appoint a friend or a professional trust management company. There may be many options running through your head. When working down the list of your trustee options, there are a few things you are going to want to consider to help ensure you select the person best suited to this important job. Let’s take a look at some of those things here.
Legally speaking, as long as the trustee you select has legal and mental capacity, meaning they are at least 18 years old and able to manage their own affairs, then you are good to go. In reality, however, there are a number of other considerations you should take into account when selecting the person who will serve as trustee of your trust.
One such consideration includes what kind of trust you are establishing. Different trusts will have different needs and benefit from different knowledge basis and skillsets. For instance, if you are establishing a special needs trust, it might be a good idea to select a trustee who knows about federal benefit programs. Trusts, after all, can impact a beneficiary’s ability to continue to qualify for important federal benefits. A trustee who knows about such federal benefit programs may be better equipped to help ensure that the beneficiary remains qualified for the receipt of these benefits.
A trust may also benefit from a trustee with some legal and financial acumen. There are a number of important duties that a trustee will be responsible for carrying out in their role. They are tasked with carrying out the instructions as set forth in the governing trust documents. The trust accounts and securities, as well as the trust property, will all be under the trustee’s purview and the trustee will have the sole legal authority to manage trust funds and property. Managing the trust will include paying the bills and doing the banking as well as properly distributing income from the trust to the trust beneficiaries. A background in the law or in finances could help out in executing all of these duties.
At the end of the day, you want a trustee you can depend on and who will be able to manage the trust far into the future. A trustworthy trustee who is committed to serving in such a capacity for an extended period of time will likely be well suited for such a position of responsibility. Choose someone who will be committed to the job and upholding the duties it comes with. When you select someone who is able to make such a commitment into the foreseeable future, you help ensure stable management of your trust and a reduction in trustee turnover which can cause problems in and of itself.
Estate Planning Attorneys
Are you considering establishing a trust? A trust can be a great addition to any estate plan! Talk to the knowledgeable estate planning attorneys at Jones, Gregg, Creehan & Gerace for more information. Contact us today.