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How to choose a trustee FAQ’s

Are you looking to start building your trust plan but have a few unanswered questions? We have answered a few general FAQ’s below that might help put your mind at ease a little about trustee’s.

Who should I choose as my trustee?

When you choose a trustee, you should consider first and foremost your trust in that person. They will be handling the administration of your estate to its respective inheritors–do you trust them to do this according to your instructions? Any person for which you can answer this question in the affirmative would be an appropriate choice. This person is typically a family member or a very close friend. It may be prudent to choose a beneficiary as trustee, as such may simplify the process and put the power of distribution in the hands of the beneficiaries. That being said, in many family situations it is wiser to place a third, uninterested party in that position.

Take note that a trustee serves in a fiduciary role. This means that they are legally obligated to administer the trust according to the instructions written, and according to the best interest of the beneficiaries. Anyone who does not administer in such a manner can be held accountable before the court.

What if you have children you aren’t comfortable putting in that position, or what if they are still too young?

As mentioned above, a third party in the form of a trusted friend or family member can easily and effectively administer the trust to your beneficiaries without any interference on their part.

What if I change my mind later?

Revocable living Trusts are just that–revocable. You as the grantor of your trust can choose to make changes at anytime during your life, including who your chosen successor trustee is.

What if I want more than one person to serve?

One of the great benefits of a trust is the incredible amount of flexibility it offers to accommodate a nearly infinite amount of situations. In this case there are several options. You can—and should—build a list of succession. It is always important to have alternate successor trustees if your chosen trustee is unable or unwilling to act in their position. Building a list of succession allows you to include the names of more than one person, and provide for their intervention if required. You can also provide for more than one trustee to work together as co-successor trustees.

How can I be sure my trustee will know what to do?

Although they are not required to do so, it is advisable that they seek assistance from an attorney. The process of administration can be complicated, and the failure to complete the often inconspicuous steps can lead to undesirable consequences for the beneficiaries. If possible, it is often a good idea to reconnect with the firm that originally drafted the trust.

What should my successor trustee know now?

The most important things for your named Successor Trustee to know are first, that they have been named in that position; second, where they can access the trust when it is finally needed; and third, if applicable, the contact information of the estate planning attorney that drafted the trust.

Let the trusted estate lawyers at Celaya Law help answer any additional questions you might have.

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