First, understand the fiduciary duties of the Trustee. The Trustee manages the assets in the Trust in the best interests of the beneficiaries and makes decisions regarding how assets are invested or released. You need assurances that your chosen Trustee is a responsible person who will carry out your wishes, make sound judgments and seek out professional advice when necessary. Typically, this role is assigned to a spouse, relative, close friend, business associate, professional advisor, a corporate fiduciary. Sometimes, co-trustees are chosen from a combination of these candidates.
Consider the candidates.
A relative can be a good choice if he or she:
1. Is competent to handle finances & will follow the Trust's instructions
2. Has adequate time & a genuine interest to take on the role.
3. Will avoid family conflicts by being unbiased & unemotional when making decision.
Banks and trust companies are regulated by the government and can manage Trusts for decades. Their advantages include:
1. They don't die or become incapacitated.
2. They act objectively in following a Trust's instructions.
3. They keep good records and have estate administration, tax and investment expertise.
Sometimes a family member, friend or a trust company will not be the right choice for you. The Trustee could be a financial advisor, an estate planning attorney, a tax professional, or a combination of these professionals.
Regardless of who you choose, the basic qualities of a good Trustee are the same: integrity, good judgment, and objectivity.
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