Choosing a trustee to administer your trust is an important decision since you want to make sure your property is managed and distributed in accordance with your wishes and with as little conflict as possible. Many people simply choose their closest family member, which can be an effective choice–but not always. The following are five things you should consider when choosing your trustee:
Knowledge and Responsibility
Managing a trust can be a complex job with many different tasks and you want to select someone who you can trust to do what is necessary to protect your property and family. While a trustee does not necessarily have to be an expert about trust management, they should be logical and have strong common sense and discretion when it comes to financial decisions.
Time and Availability
Trust administration is time-consuming. One of your family members may know a lot about finances and investing but if they do not have the adequate time or willingness to devote to the trust, it may wise to select another trustee.
Ability to Remain Impartial
Trustees owe a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries of the trust and part of that duty is to remain impartial and not to act in a self-serving manner. If both the trustee and beneficiaries are members of the same family, consider whether family politics or bias may be an issue.
While designating a family member as trustee often seems like a natural choice, you may want to consider a professional trustee. Attorneys, banks, and other corporate trustees can bring special professional expertise to the table, so this is a wise choice if you know your trust may involve complex legal issues such as estate taxes. With a professional trustee, you can also avoid issues of bias between family members and similar complications.
You can Always Re-evaluate
When you first establish your trust, you may select a trustee that seems like the best option at that time. However, circumstances and relationships change and over time, you may begin to question your decision. Know that you can always re-evaluate and adjust your trust documents to change your designated trustee.
Whether you need assistance forming a trust or need to re-evaluate an existing trust in the Atlanta area, attorney Brian M. Douglas & Associates can help you weigh the options for choosing a trustee. We can waive our regular consultation fee, so if you need any kind of estate planning assistance, call us today at (770) 933-9009.