One of the most important decisions you can make during your estate planning process is who will oversee the trust after your death. The person you choose as a trustee or fiduciary will be responsible for interacting with your loved ones, distributing funds and managing trust assets according to your wishes. This person should be reliable, congenial and responsible, according to experts. You should evaluate the contents of the trusts in order to decide whom to appoint as the guardian of your posthumous finances.

First, you should catalog the assets in the trust. If they are particularly large and complicated, you will probably want to choose a corporation to manage your assets. If they are smaller, generally less than $50,000, an individual trustee would make more sense to avoid high fees that an organization might charge.

Even larger trusts are not always managed by financial professionals, though. If the trust is relatively straightforward, you can probably appoint a single individual who is a shrewd financial manager rather than a conglomerate of experts.

It makes sense to consider someone in your family to do this job. Your relatives will likely have the best interests of the family at heart, and they can be trusted more to administer the financial distributions than someone who is an outsider. The person who knew you well in life is probably more likely to guard the trust’s integrity than someone who is a total stranger.

Also important is the relationship between your beneficiaries. If heirs are at odds with each other, the trustee’s job will become significantly more difficult and involved. Strained or complex family dynamics can be just as challenging as strained or complex financial situations, according to experts. Opting for a corporate trustee might make sense if you think emotions will be running too high after you pass away.

Be sure to consider all options for trust administration, including putting multiple people in charge of your estate. Creativity often pays off in trust administration, and it can allow you to tailor your plan to your family’s specific needs.

Luis E. Barreto