4 Important Considerations When Selecting a Trustee

A trustee will hold your assets on your behalf and deal with them according to your instructions. Because the trustee is entrusted with precious assets, it is important to select the trustee for your trust very carefully. Choosing someone who is dishonest or disloyal can be extremely detrimental to your beneficiaries and your trust.

Above all else, you should choose someone that you feel is trustworthy and honest. However, when selecting a trustee, you should also keep the following considerations in mind.

  1. Reasonable Judgment and Fairness

Trustees often have discretion over when and how much they should distribute to beneficiaries. In these situations, it is especially important that the trustee is fair and reasonable. He or she should also be able to balance the interest of the beneficiaries along with the need to maintain the assets in the trust going forward. Being able to balance these requirements is imperative for many trusts.

  1. Experience and Knowledge

Many trustees are family and friends. However, these individuals may not have the financial or legal know-how to administer a trust properly. The trustee that you choose should ideally have experience dealing with finances or tracking assets. Unfortunately, the person that works best for your particular trust may not have these skills. Thankfully, he or she can designate some responsibilities to other people or engage professionals for help. Finding a trustee that either has the skills on their own or knows when to delegate is critical for the livelihood of your trust.

  1. Relationship Dynamics

When choosing a trustee, you should consider how well the beneficiaries of the trust and the trustee will get along. If there are disputes, the relationship between these two parties can be strained. Consider how well your trustee and beneficiaries will work together. Will the trustee be able to stand their ground if the beneficiary questions his or her decisions? Family dynamics may be a key consideration in choosing your trustee.

  1. Attention to Detail and Responsibility

Trustees are required to make annual accountings to beneficiaries. They may also have other duties as laid out in the trust document related to tracking accounts or reporting. Attention to detail regarding these items is important for the livelihood of the trust and the beneficiaries. Being a trustee is also a lot of work in many situations, so your trustee should be willing and able to take on the responsibility of maintaining the trust. Do not choose a trustee that you feel may be unable to carry out their duties for any reason, including unwillingness or health problems.

Because choosing the right trustee is so critical to your trust, you may want to speak with an estate planning attorney to discuss your options. Call Luis Barreto & Associates to set up an appointment today.

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Written by Luis E. Barreto

Luis E. Barreto

Luis is a probate and guardianship litigator with over 23 years of experience in the field. Determination of heirs, will contests, breaches of fiduciary duty, removal of personal representatives, guardians and trustees are just some of the types of litigation he addresses. In addition, he administers non-contested estates and guardianships.