How do you choose the right person to serve as your trustee?

On Behalf of | May 8, 2022 | Estate Planning |

The trustee overseeing your trust will determine how effective your trust is and how much your loved ones actually receive from the trust. They will have to manage and distribute trust assets while enforcing the rules you put in place when you grafted the documents. 

A trustee has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries of the trust, and they could face a challenge in probate court if people allege they do not fulfill that duty appropriately. A trustee could squander your legacy or embezzle assets for personal gain if you give the position to the wrong person. How do you choose the right trustee for your trust?

You need to find the right blend of personal characteristics

A trustee is, as the name implies, ideally someone you deeply trust. You need to trust their judgment because they will manage the assets that comprise your legacy. They should be diligent enough to adhere to the instructions you leave behind but also intelligent enough to adapt to changing circumstances. 

Their ability to put their responsibilities ahead of their personal feelings about other people in your family will also be crucial. Finally, their age will be a factor as well, as you will benefit from naming someone who will live for many years after you create the trust. 

Serving as a trustee is a big responsibility, so you may need to discuss the role with each of your potential candidates to see if they would even accept that responsibility. You may need to consider naming co-trustees to share the role or a professional fiduciary instead of someone you know personally. 

Putting proper consideration into the selection of your trustee helps ensure that your trust achieves the goals for which you created it.