You spend a lot of time making key decisions pertaining to your trust. Some issues are easier to address than others, but all of them require your full and undivided attention. It’s the decisions you make now that will impact you, your loved ones, and your estate in the future.
It’s easy to assume that one trustee is as good as the next, but if you fall prey to this line of thinking you could make a mistake. It’s critical to choose the right trustee, as this person is staffed with a variety of responsibilities both while you are alive and after your passing.
A good jumping off point is to make a list of potential trustees. If you can stick to three to five people upfront, this will help you make a timely and efficient decision. Any more than that and you may find yourself bogged down with too many options.
Once you have a basic list in front of you, it’s time to turn your attention to the decision making process. This is when you’ll answer questions such as:
- What traits are most important to you in a trustee? For example, you want to name someone who is trustworthy, honest, and has a solid understanding of finances.
- Can you trust your trustee to separate their personal feelings from the interests of the trust and its beneficiaries? If your trustee makes decisions based on their personal beliefs, it could go against everything your trust stands for.
- Will your trustee do their part in getting along with the beneficiaries? There’s a good chance that there will be points that your trustee and beneficiaries don’t agree upon. However, it’s up to your trustee to do what’s right based on the terms and conditions of the trust. All the while, they need to keep the peace to ensure an efficient process.
- Will your trustee take unnecessary risks with your investments? Your trustee needs to act responsibly, and this means making smart investments. If they overstep, such as by seeking a large return, it could cost your beneficiaries a lot of money.
- Can you trust the person inside and out? If nothing else, you want to make sure you can confidently place 100 percent of your trust in the trustee. This alone will put your mind at ease.
These questions are important, but others are sure to move to the forefront as you go through the process of choosing a trustee. It’s critical that you answer every question in a timely manner, as the information you collect will help you make a final choice.
If you have any questions about creating a trust and/or choosing a trustee, contact us for guidance. We can provide you with additional information, all of which is designed to help you make a decision you’ll be happy with.
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- How to Choose the Right Trustee - July 3, 2020
- Beneficiary Designations and Other Non-Probate Transfers - July 3, 2020