Daughtry, Woodard, Lawrence, & Starling

Smithfield: 919-300-6982

Call Us Today Clinton: 910-249-9165
Se Habla Español
Experienced Attorneys
On Your Side
The attorneys of Daughtry, Woodard, Lawrence, & Starling
The attorneys of Daughtry, Woodard, Lawrence, & Starling

Choosing the right trustee

On Behalf of | Jun 12, 2023 | Estate Planning

A living trust is an effective estate planning instrument that combines your property and assets into one secure entity. It allows you to maintain control over your assets while alive and distribute them to your named beneficiaries when you are gone. You must assign a successor trustee to fulfill the instructions on your trust and manage your estate in a manner favorable to you and your beneficiaries. Here are questions you should consider when selecting your successor trustee.

Are they trustworthy?

The foremost quality you should seek in a trustee is their trustworthiness. Choosing your spouse or a close family member may seem obvious, but you should consider their financial knowledge and circumstances. Similarly, a trustee with personal relationships with the beneficiaries you named in your trust might find it difficult to be objective.

Choosing someone familiar with investing or who knows when they require professional assistance administering the trust might be wise. They need to pay bills and manage investments. They will have your entire estate at your disposal, so you need a trustee who will not gamble or misappropriate your funds. You may not want to choose someone who could prioritize their needs before the best interests of the other beneficiaries. You may trust this person with your life, but can you trust them with your money?

Do they have the time?

A trustee has a fiduciary to manage your trust, meaning they must devote a significant amount of their time. They file income and estate tax returns, secure and sell real estate, maintain your property and assets, appraise your personal property and document all the critical financial moves. They must communicate the transactions to the beneficiaries. You must choose someone who will prioritize their fiduciary duty and give it the time to have all the affairs in order.

Are they responsible?

A trustee should be responsible enough to meet bank, tax and credit deadlines. They should be able to organize all the financial records and inform the beneficiaries of the current assets and liabilities. Your trustee must follow your specific instructions, no matter how complicated or complex they may be.

The right trustee will protect your legacy and the best interests of your beneficiaries. Consider looking for a professional estate administrator who knows what to do and how to do it.