Choosing the trustee of your living trust is an important task and shouldn’t be made without thorough thought. The trustee of your trust will serve if you are no longer able to serve, through disability or death. This is the person who will step into your shoes and carry out your instructions. Here are the 5 important, yet relatively easy steps, to choosing a trustee.
- Consider the ideal characteristics of a trustee, which are:
- Dedication to you
- Willingness to ask for help
- Ability to communicate with and get along with your beneficiaries and trusted advisors
- The willingness to follow the instructions from your trust and your trusted advisors
- Good record keeping skills
- Financial knowledge
- Consider whether the individual you’re thinking of has the time and energy to take on the task of serving as trustee.
- Ask your potential trustees if they are willing and able to serve. Discuss trustee duties such as:
- Carrying out the trust instructions
- Managing assets, including real estate or business interests
- Investing assets
- Paying bills
- Filing taxes
- Communicating with beneficiaries, guardians for minor children, and trusted advisors
- Name a trustee (and contingent trustees) in your trust.
- Update your trust and trustee information on a regular basis.
Follow these 5 steps for choosing a trustee and you’ll make the best choice possible. If you don’t have a family member or friend who fits the bill, you have the option of naming a professional trustee such as a private fiduciary, CPA, bank, or trust company.
Whomever you name, be sure to let them know where you keep your estate planning documents and other important papers and how to contact your trusted advisors.
If you have not yet named trustees in your estates plan, call our office at 858-792-5988 for a consultation; we’d be happy to help you and look forward to your call.