Selecting a trustworthy individual is important.
You have a living trust.
Usually your spouse will be the trustee if you die.
He or she will also die at some time.
Who will be your trustee?
According to a recent The (Riverside CA) Press-Enterprise article titled “Women on Money and Mindset: Estate planning: choosing a trustee,” you should select a successor trustee.
Typical options include your children, friends, a professional fiduciary, or a bank.
What are the pros and cons of each?
Naming a child as a trustee or all of your children as co-trustees, may work for your family.
If your children are responsible and have the time, this certainly could work.
Situations are not often so ideal.
Divorce would complicate the situation.
Also, your children may have full-time jobs and other obligations.
These duties could overwhelm them.
You may have a suitable and trustworthy friend.
Still, this a significant task.
You should set up a provision in your trust to compensate them for their work.
This is a good option.
These individuals have both knowledge and experience.
They are also bound by law to act in the best interests of your beneficiaries.
Banks share many of the same benefits as professional fiduciaries.
However, they will often charge more.
If you suspect fights or you have beneficiaries who live in many different places, a professional may be the ideal option.
You could also select a family member and name the bank as a backup.
If there is no backup or should a successor trustee say no to the responsibility, a court may appoint one.
This is not ideal.
Do not surprise your trustee.
Let the individual or institution know in advance.
Be sure to provide them with a copy of your trust document.
Whether you select a family member as the trustee or someone else, you should include them in your conversation.
An experienced estate planning attorney will be able to guide you through this process.
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: The (Riverside CA) Press-Enterprise (September 2, 2017) “Women on Money and Mindset: Estate planning: choosing a trustee”