You’re planning on setting up a trust as part of your estate plans — and now you have to pick a trustee. That’s usually not an easy decision, and you want to think long and hard about your options.
If you’re wondering who can serve as a trustee or which attributes they should have, there are few key considerations:
Who can serve as a trustee?
Individuals often invest significant funds or place valuable assets into a trust. It is key to preserve the trust’s value and only make disbursements from it as per the trustor’s instructions. With that in mind, one ideal person for your trustee role is an investment-savvy or analytical individual. If you don’t know anyone who fits that bill that you’d want to be in charge of your money, then you may want to hire a fiduciary such as a financial planner, an accountant or an attorney to take on this role.
You should always aim to appoint someone who’s young and healthy to this role. You may even want to select an alternate in case something unexpected were to happen to your first pick. It’s always best to avoid putting family members in the trustee role since that can expose them to potential in-fighting that gives way to litigation.
What other traits should a trustee have?
Anyone you appoint as your trustee should be a responsible person you can trust to honestly handle your finances. They should also exhibit a high level of integrity in handling finances for individuals other than themselves. Your trustee will need to be okay with making decisions that honor your wishes instead of their own and know how to preserve assets and grow them.
Selecting a trustee can take some time. You may want to learn more about their responsibilities and discuss those with prospective candidates for this role before ultimately making your selections.