Choosing the right tools to build your estate plan is an important way to provide for your loved ones and achieve your financial goals. However, when you create a trust as part of your estate plan, the person you choose to manage that trust is as important as the estate planning tool itself. What questions should you ask when selecting a person to act as trustee?
Does this person have the financial skill necessary to manage your trust?
A trustee has a variety of different responsibilities. The person you choose should have the skill necessary to manage the assets in the trust, make sound investments and report on the state of the trust. Even if they are not an expert in these matters, you should choose someone whose judgment you trust and who will seek the guidance of experienced professionals when necessary.
Does this person understand your family dynamic?
Often, a trustee must manage more than the assets placed in trust. They must also navigate the needs of each family member and treat each beneficiary fairly. Depending on your family, this might mean that your trustee will need to remain impartial in family conflicts or navigate your unique family situation. In some cases, as Forbes notes, you might want to name multiple trustees to ensure that someone can address the emotional needs of your loved ones as well as their financial needs.
Can this person manage the trust in the long term?
You want the trust you establish to provide for your loved ones for some time. As a result, you want to select a trustee who has years of good health ahead of them. You may also want to consider naming a successor trustee or naming co-trustees to ensure that someone you trust can manage the trust for as long as possible.
Choosing the right trustee can provide confidence in the future and ensure that your assets and your loved ones are protected for years to come.