Adding a trust to your estate plan can protect your assets from creditors, help you qualify for Medicaid or give you more control over the inheritance that family members receive.
However, all of the careful planning for your trust will become meaningless if you don’t appoint the right person as trustee to enforce the structure of the trust.
There are many ways for you to allocate trustee responsibilities, but the three solutions below are probably the most frequently utilized for modern estate plans.
Naming someone you know personally
A family friend or even a younger relative can be an excellent choice to serve as trustee. Looking for someone with a history of honest and ethical behavior and good organizational skills is key.
Considering the relationship the individual has both with you and the beneficiaries of the trust can also be quite important. Finding someone who would treat all the beneficiaries equally is important, as is naming someone capable of standing up to pressure or bullying from beneficiaries.
Naming multiple people as co-trustees
The trustee has the ultimate say in the distribution of the assets from your trust, which puts them in a position of financial power. You may worry about allocating all that responsibility to one person.
Naming two or more people can be a good solution, as they all may need to weigh in on major decisions and can help ensure that no one trustee puts their personal interests above the needs of the trust and its beneficiaries.
Naming a corporate trustee
Sometimes, the best option isn’t someone you know personally at all. Choosing a corporate entity to serve as your trustee can be a good decision, and you can feel confident about the continued management of your trust and its assets until it reaches its planned end.
Thinking carefully about your wishes and your family can help you better structure your trust and choose the right trustee to administer it.