One of the most important decisions that a person will need to make when building his or her estate plan is his or her choice of a trustee. This is especially true of your are thinking of creating a testamentary trust with your minor children as beneficiaries. Your choice of a trustee will not only impact the management of your entrusted properties and assets, but will ultimately affect the lives and welfare of your chosen beneficiaries.
Choosing a trustee can be tricky and nerve-wracking, and is definitely not something that should be taken lightly. With your children's or other beneficiaries' welfare on the line, it's imperative that you make a good choice. I mean, sure, your younger brother may be a hit with his nephews and nieces, but can you depend on him to properly manage your finances in case you're gone or incapacitated?
Below are some of the characteristics that you should look for when making your crucial choice:
Please keep in mind that your appointed trustee will be responsible for managing the properties included in the trust. These properties may consist of bank accounts, real estate, stocks, and other items which require some degree of fiscal competence to be managed effectively. It's always best to find a trustee with sufficient experience and know-how in managing, maintaining and maximizing such properties.
Another thing you'll have to consider is the person's willingness to take on the responsibility of managing your entrusted properties. This will determine the degree of vigilance or dedication that a chosen trustee will give to the task of managing the trust and ensuring the best interests of your beneficiaries.
It makes perfect sense that a trustee should be someone you can trust. While there are available means through which a dishonest trustee can be removed or replaced, save your beneficiaries the trouble by appointing someone with proven honesty and integrity.
Although most anyone can be appointed as a trustee, there are specific disqualifications set by law which you must still observe. For instance, you cannot appoint a minor as a trustee. Before choosing someone, make sure to check on the specific qualifications required by law, otherwise your appointment of a disqualified trustee may be considered null and void.
Dependability or Availability
Let's say you've already come up with a shortlist of individuals possessing the first four characteristics. Another item that you'll need to consider in narrowing down that list is the person's dependability or availability. Do not appoint a person who may be too busy with his own affairs to actually pay attention to the management of properties included in the trust.
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