Choosing the right trustee is one of the biggest decisions you will make. Most people select a spouse or a child to manage their assets. For others that don’t feel comfortable with a friend or family member holding this responsibility, they select a professional trustee instead.
Whether you choose a family member or hire a professional, your trustee should exhibit qualities that help them decide on your best interest.
As it’s suggested in the title, a trustee should be trustworthy. This person will have full responsibility for managing your assets according to your instructions. If your family members are unethical and unreliable, they are probably not an ideal choice for a trustee. Working with a professional trustee or trust institution can help ensure every decision is made in your best interest.
Related Article: Five tips: Everything a trustee can (and should) do for you
Are your friends and family good with money? If the answer is no, don’t appoint them as your trustee. There can be a lot of pressure placed on trustees, especially when it comes to managing money. If they aren’t successful in taking care of their own assets, how could they successfully manage yours? It’s important that your trustee has at least a basic understanding of investments and money management. Whether your assets are small or large, every dollar needs to be accounted for.
Your trustee should be unbiased in the decision-making process. They should not rely on their feelings to manage your assets. Your trustee should remain free from negative influence by other friends or family members. If you believe friction or resentment can deter a family member from upholding their responsibilities as a trustee, consider using a professional instead. Professional trustees will be able to make the tough decisions and say “no” when it’s appropriate.
Related Article: Benefits of a Professional Trustee
Deciding who will take care of your assets when you’re gone is difficult. Whether you decide to appoint a family member as a trustee or select an experienced professional instead, ensure that this person will follow your instructions.
Have more questions on appointing a trustee?
At Marcia L. Campbell, CPA, we act as a licensed and trusted professional fiduciary for many of our clients. Contact us at 1-951-686-3608 to learn how we can help.