How do I choose a trustee?
I never used to question clients who appointed a child or a friend or a relative as their personal representative or trustee. Through the years, I have discovered the following:
- Many of the people appointed have never served in this capacity.
- They are busy with their own lives.
- They are unable to take off work to devote the time necessary to efficiently settle the estate
- They live far away
- They have no experience in selling certain kinds of assets (jewelry, antiques, real estate)
- They have poor record keeping skills or poor money skills
- They do not have a proper understanding of the laws and rules governing the position
- They can become targets for others who can take advantage of their inexperience
- They become a target for possible disapproval within the family
- They lack the experience in IRS and state tax forms
- They have no experience in preparing an estate accounting which must be furnished to a beneficiary if he/she requests it.
- A family member who acts as a trustee is often put into a position where their actions create disagreements and hard feelings which can escalate into a legal action and then nobody wind and the costs can be prohibitive. Many of the people appointed have never served in this capacity.
- Family disagreements can escalate into legal actions, and then nobody wins and unnecessary costs are incurred.
What’s the solution? Use a Professional.
- I have settled a number of estates and trusts.
- I am a licensed attorney and a licensed, bonded fiduciary.
- I am responsible for the safekeeping, management and distribution of a substantial amount of assets.
- Some are in the process of being distributed, or will be distributed to charities over time.