Who would you like to manage your estate if you can’t? Appointing a Trustee is an important choice. In making a decision, consider how well they manage their personal affairs. Are they organized? Are their estate planning affairs in order? Do they manage their finances well? Do they get along with your beneficiaries and can they act impartially among all beneficiaries?
Often times children or trusted friends are chosen to act as Trustee. However, there is often concern that a child will be too young to act as Trustee or that one child’s appointment as Trustee will cause friction between siblings. Professional Fiduciaries can be appointed as an alternative to selecting a child or friend.
A professional fiduciary is licensed to serve as a Trustee but is not a bank. In California, professional fiduciaries are registered with the Department of Consumer Affair’s Professional Fiduciaries Bureau. http://www.fiduciary.ca.gov/
Financial institutions can also be appointed to serve as Trustee. Ask your bank if they have a trust department. If you choose to appoint a bank, ask the department now what they require and make sure that your trust agreement is compliant with their provisions.
Professional fiduciaries and financial institutions take a variable percentage of the gross estate, depending on the size of the estate and the Trustee. While the expense may be greater to your estate than appointing a friend or family member, it may offer peace of mind knowing your estate will be managed by professionals, who will act impartially and not create any unnecessary riff between family members.