FEDweek

Picking Someone to Trust

Every trust needs a trustee to assume responsibility for handling trust assets. Your choices include:

Individual trustee: A friend or relative probably will be familiar with the parties involved and may well make the decisions desired by you, the trust creator.

Institutional trustee: Your local bank or trust company might have the resources to manage money and the staying power to handle long-term trusts.

To get the best of both worlds, consider naming an institution and an individual as co-trustees. You may get financial expertise and personal attention. If discretionary decisions are permitted, you can direct that both co-trustees must agree.

Putting “trustee removal” powers into a trust can reduce the risk that a trustee will prove to be unsatisfactory. A majority vote of adult income beneficiaries may be sufficient for a substitution; the new trustee or co-trustee must be an unrelated person or institution.

Whenever you name an individual as trustee or co-trustee, be sure the person is qualified to do the job, then get his or her consent. Name a successor trustee, too, in case your first choice is unable or unwilling to serve.