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How do you pick a good trustee?

On Behalf of | Oct 12, 2022 | Estate Planning |

Many California residents use a trust as part of their estate plan. When creating a trust, the person making it is called the “settlor.” It is the job of the settlor to find the right person to serve as the trustee. 

A trustee has the role of making sure the terms of the trust are followed. It’s smart to find someone who is trustworthy and who has a general understanding of what a trustee does

Consider the amount of time a trustee needs to put into the role

A trustee needs to have the time to handle trust management. A lot of work goes into it, including handling tax returns, maintaining any property, keeping records and more. Choosing someone who is extremely busy due to other responsibilities may not be wise. 

Consider the person’s ability to be objective

An important job of a trustee is to distribute the assets in a trust to the beneficiaries. Many trusts include specific instructions for this. However, in other cases, the trustee must decide what is appropriate. Family members may not be ideal for this role because it’s often impossible for them to be objective with these matters. Finding someone outside the family to take on this role may be the best option for some trusts. 

Consider using co-trustees

For some, co-trustees offer a smart option. One trustee handles the professional management of the trust, while the other deals with decision-making (this is usually a friend or family member). 

If you create a trust, you must ensure that the trustee can handle their appointed role. Choosing the right person or people will help you avoid legal issues in the future.