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Choosing a trustee

On Behalf of | Sep 13, 2023 | Estate Planning |

If a person is creating a trust, one of the most important decisions they can make is who will act as trustee. There are several characteristics that are helpful to consider, as well as options to address situations where the trustee is not meeting their responsibilities.

Role of the trustee

A trustee’s role is to manage and distribute the assets in the trust to the beneficiaries. They must act in the best interests of the trust and follow the wishes stated in the trust document.

Some people choose a family member, like a spouse or a close friend to act as the trustee. However, some decide to choose a professional trustee instead, which is usually a person or organization that works in trust administration. The trustee will need to understand the expectations of their role.

It’s important to choose a person who is trustworthy, honest, financially responsible and someone who can address disagreements if they arise. It’s also very helpful to choose a person with strong communication skills.

Addressing disputes

Sometimes, the trustee does not act in the best interest of the beneficiaries, and it may be worth having a conversation with them to reiterate expectations and resolve any misunderstandings.

The beneficiaries can also request an accounting of the trust assets, income and expenses. It may be necessary to petition the court to review the situation, including requesting the trustee’s removal and the appointment of a new trustee.

While the circumstances are under review, the court may temporarily prevent the trustee from taking further action.

Estate planning can be complicated, but there is assistance available.