When you create a trust, you appoint a trustee of that trust who will abide by your wishes you’ve set forward. Some examples of these wishes can include the following:
- A schedule on assets disbursement
- Qualifications for receiving assets
- Who your beneficiaries are
- A responsibility for paying taxes
- Power of attorney for medical decisions
- When to sell a business or property
- Instructions for investments
Many people choose a family member as their trustee. Others choose a close friend or an adult child. You also have the option to choose a trustee from a corporation. Let’s discuss what these options entail.
Tips for Choosing a Trustee
Learn about things to keep in mind before you choose a trustee.
- Family Member: Most people choose a family member as their trustee. However, a family member in charge of your trust is often intertwined with the family drama involved with the trust. For example, if a sibling does something to violate a qualification for receiving his or her inheritance, the sibling trustee would be in a difficult position to deny the funds. Similarly, a trustee family member could also take more liberties in interpreting your instructions based on their personal biases toward other beneficiaries. These are important things to consider.
- Corporate Trustee: If you choose a trustee from a law firm or bank, you do not have to deal with any drama. You will have to pay trustee fees, but you can rest assured that the trust will be disbursed according to your wishes. On the other hand, having too strict of a trustee can be a downside. If extenuating circumstances come up where you would change the instructions if you were still alive, a corporate trustee will not consider compassion or personal relationships. They will do only what they are legally able to do. Whereas a family member would be more inclined to make tough decisions that are not explicitly detailed based on what they think you would do if you were still alive.
If you feel confident with a family member as your trustee, save on the trustee fees by appointing them as your trustee. The most important thing is to feel 100% comfortable with your trustee, knowing that all your assets will be distributed according to your wishes.
Shoup Legal can help guide you when considering who to appoint as your trustee. Contact us at (951) 445-4114 or email us at [email protected] to get in touch with a member of our team.