When setting up your estate plan one of the toughest decisions is who should be appointed as the Successor Trustee to manage the estate when you die. Should this person be a family member, friend or Corporate Trustee (bank trust department or trust company). There are many considerations to take into account when making this difficult decision. Below is some important criteria for a Successor Trustee:
- Someone whom you can trust – The Successor Trustee may be dealing with large sums of money, be it in cash, investments or real estate. This person has to be comfortable with handling all of this and comfortable in proper decision making for investment purposes.
- Someone who is practical – The Successor Trustee should be someone who can make decisions based on all the facts and can be impartial but sensitive to what is happening.
- Someone who is organized and detailed oriented – The Successor Trustee should be someone who is extremely organized and detailed oriented. It does not matter how large or small the estate may be they still need to be able to handle all facets of your estate plan. Keeping organized and being detailed is one way of ensuring a smooth administration of the Trust Estate.
- Someone who can be tough – The Successor Trustee is not only dealing with vast amounts of paperwork, but also individuals. These individuals are beneficiaries and financial institutions. It is important for the Successor Trustee to comply with your wishes in your Trust Documents and to try and make beneficiaries understand this can be challenging.
The above criteria are just a sample to consider. Make sure you check with the person before you appoint them as Successor Trustees with these responsibilities. You should not assume the person wants or is able to take on such a task.
Anyone of our highly qualified estate planning attorneys can assist you in selecting the right person for this important position.