The choice of trustee can be a critical feature in the success or failure of an estate plan, yet clients frequently give little thought to this until their estate planning consultation. Clients often struggle with the decision between the most qualified person and the person most likely to be offended if not chosen. This conflict can lead to settling on the wrong person. When selecting a trustee, there are several things to keep in mind.
First, a trustee is responsible for the prudent management of trust assets for the benefit of the beneficiaries. This means the trustee must reasonably invest and manage the trust assets and must treat the beneficiaries with equal fairness.
Second, a trustee is responsible for the distribution of trust assets. Trust administration requires the trustee to adhere to the trust provisions, which can be straight forward or complex, depending on the type of plan. Distributing trust assets also means the trustee must work with financial institutions to liquidate and/or manage accounts, while providing an accounting to your beneficiaries. This can be time-consuming and stressful.
Finally, the trustee’s job can be difficult and requires time and the ability to perform multiple tasks. Depending on the estate, a trustee may be required to serve for years before their duties are complete.
With these considerations in mind, take your time to decide who will serve as trustee of your trust. It is wise to select someone who responsibly manages their own assets and who works well with others. Be mindful to select someone who is committed to carry out your wishes and who possesses excellent communication and multi-tasking skills. By carefully selecting your trustee, you can have the reassurance that your affairs will be properly handled after you’re gone.
Contributed by MH Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney Darren L. Richardson.
Morris Hall Can Protect You in Today’s Litigious Society:
We live in a litigious society, where over 1 million lawsuits are filed every year in America alone. Financial predators are looking for ways to take funds from others and often use litigation as their means to do so. At Morris Hall we provide your assets and your loved ones with important protections that can prevent financial predators from taking advantage of you. We do this through proper and current estate planning techniques. With an MH living trust, we can also protect your property, assets and loved ones from probate, estate taxes, gift taxes, creditors, Medicaid spend-down, conservatorship or guardianship proceedings, ex-spouses and more. A living trust also keeps your asset and beneficiary information private and secure to avoid giving financial predators information to use against you and your family. Without a living trust, this information will be made public. For those living in Arizona, we serve the areas of Phoenix, Mesa, Gilbert, Fountain Hills, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Prescott, Flagstaff, Sedona, Tucson, Sonoita, Arrowhead, Avondale, Goodyear and Tempe. In New Mexico we serve the areas of Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces, Rio Rancho, White Rock, Alamogordo, Truth or Consequences and more. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment with an attorney in your area!
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.