Hyden, Miron & Foster, PLLC Law Blog

Monday, May 23, 2022

Choosing a Trustee

Including a trust in your estate plan can help you accomplish your goals and preserve a better future for your loved ones. While the type of trust best suited for an estate plan will vary depending on the goals it is intended to serve, there are certain parts of the trust that will have to be settled for it to be effective. For instance, every trust must be funded to be effective. Assets must be transferred into the trust. Additionally, a trustee will have to be named. In some cases, the settlor or creator of the trust will serve as trustee. In that case, a successor trustee should be named. Regardless, a settlor will have to choose who will serve in the role of trustee now or in the future. It is an important choice that can have profound impacts on the success of the trust.

Choosing a Trustee

A trustee must be at least 18 years of age. In other words, the trustee must be legally competent. The trustee must also be of sound mind and possess the capacity to manage their own affairs. These are the most basic requirements of a trustee and are usually the only ones in place, legally speaking.

Above and beyond these standard requirements, there are a number of other traits to consider when choosing a trustee. For starters, you will likely want a trustee who is, above all else, trustworthy. A trustee is a role of trust and responsibility. Your trust and the goals you have for your trust will be best served by someone who can handle the responsibilities associated with this role as well as someone who takes these responsibilities seriously.

You should also consider selecting a trustee who is organized. Trustees are tasked with paying the bills of the trust, filing the taxes for the trust, conducting the banking of the trust, and making appropriate trust distributions to the named beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust. In other words, the functioning of the trust heavily depends on the trustee’s management and execution of their duties. Organization can be key in having all of these tasks completed and done properly.

A trust can also benefit from having a trustee with some level of legal or financial expertise. Managing a trust can often mean managing securities and other investments. There is also, as mentioned above, many financial management tasks associated with the role of trustee. Additionally, in the case of a special needs trust, it may be a good idea to have a trustee with even a basic understanding and knowledge of federal benefits programs. This is because beneficiaries of special needs trust are often the recipients of critical federal benefits. Improper management of the trust can even jeopardize the beneficiary’s continued receipt of such benefits.

Estate Planning Attorneys

Are you interested in learning more about a trust and how a trust can help you accomplish your estate planning goals? Do not hesitate to reach out to our knowledgeable estate planning team at Hyden, Miron & Foster to learn more. Contact us today.


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