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How should you choose to be your Trustee?
As much as you love your children and would like to think they will be caring and unselfish when you’re not there to referee, this is the time to be realistic. If they really don’t get along, or if there could be jealousies, you and your family will be much better off with a professional as your successor trustee. The fee they charge is a small price to pay if it keeps peace in your family. Here are some key factors in deciding on your Trustee.
Financially responsible – Do they pay there bills on time, have they had a bankruptcy, do they save money?
Take good care of themselves physically – If they don’t, how will the take care of you?
Have a solid character; are they honest when it comes to money?
Willing to act – you need to ask them if they want the responsibility. Do they have any idea how much work it will take and the pressure from family members they will get? Are they aware that it may tear the family apart?
Live locally – How would they get you to doctors appointments or handle your affairs from afar?
Have the ability or understanding to perform the duties – For example : making sure the homeowners insurance policy is current, because if it’s not and the house burns down that person is now responsible for that expense. We use a checklist for trust administration that is often times 3 page long. If one item is missed, it could be catastrophic to the estate.
Capable of fulfilling your wishes – Will they make the decisions the way you would have made them, using substituted judgement.
Can they manage family infighting – Can they handle a family member that thinks they are not doing their job the way they should be?
The real purpose of this slide to help you consider all the factors in choosing a responsible person that will carry out your wishes without regard to family pressure and will do carry out all tasks to the highest standards.
Don’t forget that you can name as many contingent individuals as you want. It costs nothing to add a professional fiduciary last. You should always have a back up plan.