A trust can be an invaluable addition to a comprehensive estate plan. In fact, after a Last Will and Testament, trusts are often the second choice for anyone creating an estate plan. A trust can help you avoid probate, decrease your estate tax burden, and even allow you to retain a certain degree of control over your assets long after your death. When you create a trust, one of the most important decisions you must make is who to appoint as the trustee. Although it is a highly individual decision, consider the answers to the following questions when you are considering a potential trustee:
- Does he/she have a personal stake in the outcome of any trust business?
- Does he/she live close to the majority of the trust property?
- Does he/she have the time needed to administer the trust?
- Does your prospective trustee have any experience as a trustee?
- Does he or she have a background in finance or law?
- Will he/she be able to be fair and impartial?
- Does he/she have the resources to act as trustee?
- Is your prospective trustee willing to serve in the position?
Basic questions such as these can assist you in determining whether or not the person you have in mind is really a good fit for the position. Depending on the complexity and value of your trust, you may also wish to consider a professional, neutral trustee such as a bank, an attorney or a professional trust management firm.