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How to Choose the Right Trustees for Your Trust

Firstly, congratulations on creating an estate plan – it’s a task that many people delay or avoid. Moving your assets into a Revocable Trust is one of the most efficient and effective ways to maintain control of your assets during your lifetime, while privately and seamlessly transitioning them to your beneficiaries after you’re gone. When creating your Trust, you will need to name one or more Trustees to manage it.

You will typically be the initial Trustee on your Revocable Trust so that you maintain control of your assets. The question is – who should manage it upon your incapacity or after you pass away? Legally, anyone over the age of 18 can be a Trustee for a Trust in Florida. The first choice of many Grantors (the person who set up the Trust) is a spouse, adult child, or sibling. When selecting a family member, some considerations to keep in mind are:

  • Are they trustworthy? This person will have access to all of your assets with a limited amount of oversight. If you have any nagging doubts about someone’s trustworthiness, it’s best to skip that person and appoint someone else.  
  • Are they financially-knowledgeable? They don’t need to be a financial whiz, but it’s helpful if they can manage a budget and make smart financial choices.
  • Can they handle the responsibility? They may face pressure from other family members to act in ways contrary to the stipulations of the Trust. They also may face conflicts from family members who disagree with how the Trust is being managed and challenge it.
  • Do they have time to administer the Trust? Serving as a Trustee involves a significant time commitment, especially if the Trust has a high net worth, if there are many beneficiaries, or if there is conflict.

In addition to a family member serving as a Trustee, many Grantors also name a professional who is not related to the family, typically an attorney and/or an accountant, to serve as a Co-Trustee. Other options include banks or trust companies who have specialized internal departments that administer thousands of trusts. These Co-Trustees provide a high level of legal and/or financial expertise in Trust administration that a family member may lack. They also provide a neutral perspective since they will not be personally impacted by family politics and drama that can occur.

Before naming anyone as a Trustee, have a conversation with them to ensure that they are willing to take on the additional responsibilities that serving as a Trustee entails. Also consider naming back-up Trustees in case one of your first-choice Trustees is unable or unwilling to serve when the time comes.

If you are looking to set up a Revocable Trust, or for any estate planning needs, contact Huth, Pratt, and Milhauser for a free consultation to learn about your options for facilitating a smooth and efficient transfer process while minimizing taxes.

Huth, Pratt and Milhauser

Huth, Pratt and Milhauser is a boutique law firm that offers a wide range of legal services in the specialty areas of wills, trusts, estates, probate, guardianship, and related matters. The range of legal services that Huth, Pratt & Milhauser provides in these specialty areas includes planning, administration and litigation. The experience and skills of our attorneys and staff, coupled with our knowledge of applicable law, enable us to provide outstanding representation to our clients.

Although we are located in South Florida, we proudly serve clients throughout the country and around the world from our Boca Raton offices. We strive to provide superior and focused counsel in a timely manner and at a competitive price.

Huth, Pratt and Milhauser

2500 North Military Trail, Suite 460

Boca Raton, Florida   33431

Phone: 561-392-1800

2500 North Military Trail, Suite 460
Boca Raton, Florida   33431
Phone: 561-392-1800

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