A good trust needs a good trustee.
If you have a sizeable estate, a trust may be in your best interest.
This can help keep your money out of probate, while providing tax benefits and even protecting the inheritance "from" and "for" your loved ones.
According to a recent The Motley Fool article titled “How to Find the Right Estate Trustee,” the trust itself is not enough.
You need to have a good estate trustee.
How do you find the right estate trustee?
Consider whether the individual has any of the following qualities.
Would the estate trustee be a fiduciary?
What is a fiduciary?
A fiduciary is legally required to serve the best interests of his or her client.
This is a requirement for anyone who provides retirement planning, but is not necessarily required for financial advisors.
If the individual has experience and is committed to serving as a beneficiary, then he or she may make a good trustee.
Any time your work with legal and financial matters, qualifications are important.
Being a trustee requires the ability to make sound decisions in managing assets.
The trustee should be knowledgeable in tax law and investments.
Family dynamics can cause tension and stress.
Especially when it involves money.
Your trustee should be able to work well with your beneficiaries.
Relationship skills are a must.
You do not want a trustee you will likely outlive.
This defeats the purpose of your planning.
Find someone who is young and healthy.
In case your trustee dies, you should consider naming a successor trustee.
This individual will assume the responsibility if the first option is unable to perform his or her duties.
Although you could select a financial institution that offers trust services as a trustee , it could be more expensive.
Many times the fee is 1 percent of your estate.
In the end, the decision regarding which fiduciary option is best for you is a decision be evaluated with the guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney.
Review Your Choice.
The decision you make now may not be suitable in five years.
Be sure to review your estate plan with your experienced estate planning attorney to ensure everything is ready when the time comes.
So, how do you find an "experienced" estate planning attorney?
First, ask around. Friends, family and other professional advisors are trustworthy sources.
Second, conduct an "organic" search on "Google" for "estate planning" near you (e.g., "Estate Planning Anytown MoKan").
Third, either way, verify! Check out the education, experience, ratings and client reviews of any attorney before you contact him or her.
In fact, I use both of these services to thoroughly vett attorneys before referring members of our "client" family for legal help in other areas of law or for matters in jurisdictions outside Kansas or Missouri.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri), visit our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: Motley Fool (July 11, 2017) “How to Find the Right Estate Trustee”