Things to Consider When Naming a Trustee
How to protect your best interests and trust the right person to carry out your wishes
Estate planning is one of the most important ways that you can plan for the future and ensure that your assets are protected and utilized according to your specific wishes. In some cases people may execute a simple will designating how and when property is to be dispersed. However, in many cases, trusts are one of the best ways to accomplish a wide variety of estate planning goals. There are many different types of trusts each with their own unique benefits and specifications. Trusts can be revocable, meaning the trust creator retains the ability modify the terms of the trust during his or her lifetime and maintains access to the funds. Irrevocable trusts typically cannot be modified and eliminate the trust creator’s access to the assets. Depending on the specific wishes of the trust creator, there are also a variety of specific trusts that can be established including special needs or supplemental needs trusts, spendthrift trusts and charitable remainder trusts.
Regardless of which type of trust is best for you, arguably one of the most important tasks during this process is naming a trustee. A trustee has a fiduciary duty to the creator of the trust and is tasked with the responsibility of administering the trust according to its specific terms and ensuring that the trust creator’s intentions are honored. Depending on which type of trust you establish, there may be different fiduciary duties that the trustee must perform. Any breach of these duties can lead to lengthy and expensive litigation that tie up your assets for many years. To avoid these conflicts it is vital that you take the time to evaluate your options and make the best decisions for your future as well as that of your loved ones.
There are many different things to consider when determining who may be the best person to administer your trust. Trustees are often required to make many decisions throughout the life of the trust that directly impact your beneficiaries. It is important to choose someone that understands and is willing to accept this responsibility. In addition, you want to choose someone that has the ability to understand and interpret complex legal documents as they may have to make significant decisions regarding the administration of your assets. In some cases, trustees are entitled to compensation for their duties and it is important to choose someone with the integrity and honesty required of this position.
It is also important to consider who you should name as a successor trustee. The terms of the trust may extend for several years beyond the life of the trustee and in this case, you may consider naming an institution, such as a bank to manage your trust long-term. These are just some of the considerations that you should take into account when establishing a trust and naming a trustee. If you have questions about your options, consult an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure that you analyze all possible scenarios before making a decision that could have permanent consequences.
To schedule a consultation with one of the knowledgeable and compassionate North Palm Beach estate planning attorneys at Kitroser & Associates, call 561-721-0600 or send us a confidential email today.