A corporate trustee is a bank trust department or trust company. When you set up a trust you need to name someone (a trustee) to manage the assets your trust controls. When you create a Revocable Living Trust, you are usually the trustee of the trust. Upon your death, you need to name a successor trustee. You can choose just about any adult such as family members, close friends, or trusted advisors.
Sometimes these people are not appropriate and you wonder who else can handle the trust for you. Often, the answer is a corporate trustee.
Bank trust departments and trust companies are experienced in all aspects of administering trusts such as investment management, tax preparation, administrative issues, and legal responsibilities. Corporate trustees are also regulated by both state and federal agencies, and have a fiduciary responsibility to abide by the trust. The corporate trustee will follow your trust instructions objectively and faithfully with the additional benefit of maintaining longevity and continuity. Although more than one person may work on your trust document, detailed records and a thorough history must be maintained in your file. The selection of someone with experience and integrity to manage your estate, when you are no longer able to do so, can be very reassuring.
A corporate trustee can manage the assets in your trust now and/or after you die as the trust directs. They are familiar with all types of assets, including stocks and bonds, real estate, corporations, farms, gas and oil leases, international investments and tangible personal property. With a staff approach, they have more experience and resources than an individual and often can achieve better results.
You can also have the best of both worlds, meaning, you can have the investment experience of a corporate trustee and name a family member co-trustee to maintain personal involvement. The family member can work as a liaison with the staff at the corporate trust department. Many people just don’t have the time and like the idea of having a professional take care of the paperwork, tax filings, and other administrative details.
Start by talking to several corporate trustees. Ask how many trusts they manage, the minimum size trusts they manage, and how much experience they have in the trust business. You can compare investment returns, fees, and services they provide. For instance, some bank trust departments will not act as your power of attorney. For more information on naming a corporate trustee as part of your estate plan, contact Sinclair Prosser Gasior at 410-573-4818 or 301-970-8080. to schedule your individual consultation.
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