The trustee you select is the key decision to assure your trust will serve your beneficiaries well. Your trustee will have complex and demanding duties:

  • Managing the trust’s investments and distributing its assets
  • Balancing the (sometimes conflicting) interests of multiple beneficiaries
  • Accounting and record keeping
  • Protecting trust assets
  • Managing personal financial affairs
  • Complying with your intentions, as well as current trust laws
  • Making tax-related decisions
  • Paying trust expenses

The Qualities to Look for in Your Trustee

A trustee requires integrity, judgement, and the ability to command your (and your beneficiaries’) respect and confidence. You need to consider whether the trustee:

  • Will be available to serve and willing to continue throughout the term of the trust
  • Has no conflict of interest
  • Is diligent and organized
  • Does candidate have experience managing trusts like yours?
  • Is candidate knowledgeable and experienced about investments, real estate, accounting, tax law and planning, record keeping, and reporting? If not, will have to associate with/hire professionals

Individual Trustee Versus Professional Fiduciary/Trust Department

Individual: spouse, relative, friend. Needs to have necessary time; harder if lives out of state; also can person handle real estate and other special assets?

Professional Trustee: professional skill and experience; available when needed to serve