“Characteristics to Look for in a Trustee” by Attorney Nicole Livingston
When you are selecting a trustee as part of the trust creation process, you need to ensure that you select the right person. The trustee has many different responsibilities and serves a vitally important role. Before you decide who will fulfill this position, you need to understand what trustees are actually responsible for and what their legal obligations are.
The decision on who should serve as your trustee is just one of many important choices that you are going to have to make when you create a trust. You should talk with an Annapolis trusts lawyer throughout the trust creation process so you can make informed choices about every aspect of creating your trust. Your trust should provide you, your family, and your assets with important protections but you need to make the right choices as you create your trust document. Sinclair Prosser Gasior can help.
What Characteristics Should You Look for When Selecting a Trustee?
When selecting trustees, the type of trust that you create can make an impact on the role that your chosen person will play and on when that person begins to take responsibility for actively managing trust assets.
For example, the job of a trustee will differ when you create a revocable living trust, which you may maintain substantial control over while naming a backup trustee to take over in the event of your incapacity, versus when you create an irrevocable living trust which requires you to give up substantial control over trust assets. The person who you put in charge of a special needs trust or a spendthrift trust is also going to have a different, and more active, role to play than the trustee for other types of trusts.
Still, when you create both a revocable trust and an irrevocable trust, the person who you select as a trustee will have a fiduciary duty and could have substantial responsibilities for managing trust assets and following instructions you set forth in your trust document. You want to find someone who you can count on to fulfill the role that the law assigns to trustees and someone who you can trust absolutely to manage your trust assets and act in the best interests of your beneficiaries.
Some of the key characteristics that you should look for when selecting the person to serve as your trustee include the following:
- Honesty: Above all else, the person who you select to manage your trust should be someone who you believe is honest. The individual you select is going to have a lot of control over assets and over important financial decisions and you want to know beyond a shadow of doubt that the individual is trustworthy and will do the right thing. While it is true the law requires honesty and prohibits conflicts of interest, it can still be a major hassle to pursue legal action against a trustee who abuses his power or mismanages assets.
- Financial knowledge: The person who you select is going to have responsibility for managing the assets held within the trust. You want someone who has a good grasp of the management of the type of property and assets that are held within the trust. You need to ensure that the person who you select has good financial knowledge and can keep the assets safe and make smart decisions that could potentially help to increase the value of the assets that are held within the trust.
Sinclair Prosser Gasior can assist you in understanding the role of the trustee based on the type of trust you create, and can provide you with guidance on other choices that you must make during the trust creation process.
Getting Help from An Annapolis Trust Creation Lawyer
Sinclair Prosser Gasior will assist you in determining who should be your trustee, and can also help you to identify backup trustees who can fulfill the required role of managing trust assets and administering the trust. We can also guide you through all other aspects of trust creation including following legal formalities when creating your trust document.
To find out more about how trusts work, why you may wish to create a trust, and what a trust can do to protect you, your property, and the people you love, join us for a free seminar. Attendance of an estate planning seminar will qualify you for a complimentary consultation (value $350) with an estate planning attorney. You can also give us a call at 410-573-4818 or contact us online to schedule a consultation to get personalized advice from an Annapolis trust lawyer about all aspects of the trust creation process. Give us a call now to get started on trust creation.
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