3 Tips to Choose the Right Trustee for Your Estate Plan
A trustee is someone who is in charge of handling assets and administering a trust. The trust creator or settlor appoints the trustee. A trustee is like your trust’s designated driver when you are no longer capable of handling matters yourself. Such cases include mental incapacitation or death. Look for these top 3 traits of a reliable trustee and you’ll know how to choose a trustee for your estate plan. Then, you will ensure that your assets, properties, and beneficiaries are in good hands when you pass away.
Is Your Trustee Financially Knowledgeable?
I’m not saying your trustee needs to be a certified financial advisor or accountant (although that would be a plus). But when choosing a trustee for your estate plan, you want to choose someone who is financially aware and has financial knowledge, at the most basic of levels. This is because your trustee will handle your assets after your death. A reliable trustee should know how to handle assets and choose paths that will save money, preserve assets and allow for possible growth in assets in the long run.
Is Your Trustee Organized?
Attorneys work at an hourly rate for trust administration cases. That means, the more time an attorney spends organizing your files and scouring for missing information, the higher the trust administration fee will be.
A reliable trustee has all the necessary paperwork and information, presenting it to their attorney in an organized manner. Organization can come in the form of physical files, excel sheets, lists, and the like.If the attorney is constantly following up with the Trustee for information or documentation, this adds up to more administrative costs. An organized Trustee can help cut down costs for the administration.
Saved hours equals saved money.
Is Your Trustee Trustworthy?
This quality may seem like a no-brainer, but as a settlor, you want to choose a trustworthy trustee. Whether your trustee is a family member, friend, colleague, or a professional fiduciary, your goal as settlor should be to choose someone who has earned your trust throughout the years.
A reliable trustee will be considerate and fair to your beneficiaries, meet your expectations and wishes, and will not exploit their position as trustee or worst breach their fiduciary duties.
These three simple tips will help you make a better decision on naming a trustee for your family trust. It’s important that your trustee can properly handle your assets, carry out your wishes, and treat your beneficiaries justly. If your trustee has these qualifying traits, your estate plan will have a better chance of avoiding future potential roadblocks.