On August 18, 2016

Helpful tips for choosing the right person to serve as a trustee

Helpful tips for choosing the right person to serve as a trustee

The answer to this question is important to consider, as your choice in trustees can have significant impacts in the future. For instance, while a good trustee can ensure that assets are distributed according to your wishes (i.e., the terms of the trust), an unethical or untrustworthy trustee may compromise the interests of your beneficiaries, may misuse the assets held by the trust or may make costly mistakes that end up having long-term impacts.

So, to help you narrow down your choices in trustees, the following are some of the top qualities to look for when selecting someone to fulfill this role:

  • Prudence – A discrete, thoughtful, prudent trustee can make sure that terms of the trust, as well as the designated beneficiaries, are served appropriately. Additionally, prudence will be important to ensuring that a trustee is able to effective manage and administer the trust at every point, including (but not limited to) when it’s time to pay taxes on the trusts’ income, it’s time to distribute certain assets to beneficiaries, etc.
  • Diligence – Trusts can be in place for years, requiring ongoing management and administration. With a diligent, organized trustee, you can be sure that nothing will be overlooked, mismanaged or compromised during the life of the trust.
  • Objectivity – Trustees are required to serve the interests of the trust and its beneficiaries, so you want to be sure you choose someone who can remain objective – and who won’t decide to simply serve or promote their own interests when managing or administering the trust. Additionally, an objective trustee won’t favor any beneficiary over another, which again can be important to making sure the terms of the trust are properly fulfilled.

Choosing a Trustee: More Important Information

  • While you can select a loved one to serve as your trustee, it’s also crucial to understand that a trustee can be a professional – like an attorney or accountant – who is unrelated to you.
  • You can appoint co-trustees if that serves your wishes better. In fact, co-trustees can provide greater oversight (for each other), ensuring the trust is appropriate managed and administered.
  • Your trustee(s) can hire other professionals (like lawyers or accountants) to help them administer the trust in the future.

Contact a Denver Estate Planning Attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC

For experienced help devising, revising or administering an estate plan, you can turn to the estate planning attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC. We provide a thoughtful, comprehensive approach to our clients’ estate planning, elder law and other legal needs, and we take pride in helping each of our clients and their families find the best solutions for them.

Schedule an initial consultation with one of our lawyers today to discuss your estate planning options. To set up this meeting, call us at (303) 741-2400 or email us using the contact form at the top of this page.

From our offices in Denver, we serve clients throughout the southwest and southeast Metro Area, including (but not limited to) people in Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Castle Rock, Parker, Aurora, Greenwood Village and Englewood.

Categories: Trust Administration, Trustee Duties, Trustees, Executors & Fiduciaries, Trusts