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Who is a good trustee, how do we find the best trustee.

Hackensack, NJ |
Filed under: Special needs trust

our lawyer introduced us who is going to be the trustee of our daughter. if we no agree, can we find anotherone. we worrie because our daughter is going to need help all her live. so what do we need to know about the trustee? is the money going to be secure in 25 years?

Attorney Answers 3


You need to interview several and obtain reports of their past performance for clients.
It would be best to have your attorney draft a fee arrangement and include in the agreement what conditions would allow the trustee to be replaced what the requirements would be of the new trustee.

The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.

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There is no way to answer your question on the limited information given. There are MANY factors and considerations that go into this decision. You want your trustee to be someone with unquestioned integrity, honest and a concern for your objectives and the beneficiaries of the trust. If the person KNOWS the beneficiaries and their needs, it is generally better. If they know YOU, and your expectations, wishes and desires, then that is also better.

Some people like corporate trustees because they are professional trust managers and will most likely always be there. The potential problem is you might not know the person who will be managing things. The bank could be merged or bought out, and then you might be dealing with someone a long ways away. Corporate trustees also have minimum requirements for taking on a trust.

A lot depends on the amount of the trust and the objectives. Is your daughter on government assistance? If so, a special needs trust might be appropriate. If you expect that your daughter will need to live in a facility or a group home, then they may have people that they prefer to work with.

You state that you have an attorney, so it is not appropriate for anyone on Avvo to second-guess your attorney's advice. If you feel comfortable with the attorney's choice, then I would use them. If you do not, then you should either ask for another recommendation or make your own choice.

James Frederick

*** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state.

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While a lawyer can suggest a trustee, the ultimate decision lies with the person creating the trust or a court in the case of a minor or incapacitated adult. You should interview potential trustees to determine their experience with your daughter's kinds of needs, their money management experience and philosophy, their fees, and whether you feel comfortable with them. Fees can vary significantly from one trustee to another. In the 25+ years I have practiced special needs planning, I've found that some trustees have a great feel for special needs while others do not. You can select potential trustees independent of your lawyer as well. I have a good deal of information on special needs and trusts on my website Lawrence Friedman, special needs, trusts, and estates lawyer Bridgewater, NJ [awarded New Jersey State Bar Association's Distinguished Legislative Service Award for drafting New Jersey special needs trust legislation]

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