One of the most difficult, yet important, decisions you must make when you create a trust of any kind is who you will appoint as the trustee. Whether this is the first trust you have ever created, or only one of many you have created, take the time to consider a few important factors before you make the decision who to appoint.
- Location of Trust Assets and Beneficiaries: Your trustee needs to be able to effectively manage the trust assets in order to ensure the success of the trust. If the trust includes tangible assets, such as real property, then the trustee should have easy access to the assets. In addition, although being physically located close to the beneficiaries is not essential, it is desirable in order to make communication easier.
- Trust Discretion: If your trust gives the trustee wide discretion with regard to trust disbursements, be certain that the person you appoint is capable of deciding when a disbursement is called for and when to say no.
- Relationship of the Trustee to the Beneficiaries: While you may trust a close family member, ask yourself whether this person is truly a neutral and objective choice for the position. Often, a family member’s relationship to a beneficiary could potentially create a conflict of interest down the road if the personal relationship takes a turn for the worst.
- Financial Ability and Experience: Make sure that your trustee’s financial acumen is equal to the duties required under the trust terms.
- Willingness to Serve: Often forgotten — be sure to ask the potential trustee if he or she is willing to accept the appointment.