Estate Planning: Choosing the Right Trustee

It’s not the most pleasant experience to think about one’s own death, but the smart move is to think about what will happen to your estate after your passing and make sure that they fall into the right hands.

Whoever your beneficiary may be, if you set up a trust for your assets, you can be assured that your estate will be distributed efficiently as per your wishes within a given time. However, to make sure that this management and distribution of your assets is carried out smoothly, it is imperative that you choose the right trustee. After all, a trust is entirely dependent on the trustee who oversees it.

What is the job of a trustee?

To put it simply, a trustee is either an individual or sometimes, a financial organization that manages and oversees a trust that a deceased leaves behind for beneficiaries to benefit from. “Managing and overseeing” is a vague term and can encompass many duties or jobs. These may include paying taxes and bills, ensure proper management of investments, taking care of the property, and much more. The most important aspect is that the trustee should always have the best interests of the beneficiaries at heart.

It is safe to say that most people can be pretty unaware when it comes to properties, taxes, and financial affairs. They need a lot of guidance and assistance to make the right decisions. So, it is not difficult to see how important the job of a trustee is.

What to consider when appointing a trustee

As mentioned above, the job of a trustee is not something simple and easy. Not just anybody is qualified to manage your estate, so it’s important that you choose your trustee only after careful consideration. Here are some points to help you out:

Make sure you choose someone you trust completely

It’s not enough that your trustee has the financial and legal knowledge to some degree, they also need to be quick-thinking and have common sense. Managing and taking care of all your assets is a huge responsibility. So, the most important thing is that the trustee is someone you know to be trustworthy, reliable, and responsible.

Choose someone who is of a sound mind and body

It is important to take into account that managing a trust can take years. So, only choose someone as a trustee if they are of sound mind and body. Take into consideration their health as well as age, and appoint someone who is likely to live much longer than you. Moreover, they need to be able to make good, reliable judgments.

Choose someone who can commit their time

It is well-known that managing and overseeing a trust takes time and energy. So, only choose someone if they have the time and energy to spare. They have to be genuinely interested and have in mind the best interests of the beneficiary. Otherwise, not only will it become a burden for them, but it will also affect their judgments, making them more likely to make mistakes with serious consequences. Always have an honest conversation with potential trustees before making anything official.

A family member or relative is not always the best option

It may be easy to think that family members or relatives are the best choices for a trustee, but this is not always the case. They may not have the knowledge, skills, and expertise required to handle matters smoothly. So, it is better to consider a professional, like an estate planning attorney. Besides, if any conflict between beneficiaries arises, an unbiased judgment can be made by the attorney.

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Posted in: Estate Planning