As part of an estate plan, a trust gives you more freedom and flexibility in bequeathing your property to others. When you create a trust, you also have to choose the person who will be in charge of administering it. That person is the trustee.
The job of the trustee is to carry out your wishes for the trust. You should make the choice carefully because failures by the trustee may prevent the trust from achieving the goals that you set for it.
According to Kiplinger, you should have an understanding of the trustee’s responsibilities before you make your choice. The trustee must review beneficiaries’ requests for funds and decide which distributions to deny or approve, balancing this decision against the terms of the trust. The trustee must also protect the assets, manage investments and file taxes on behalf of the trust. You should choose someone who has the proven ability to perform financial management at that level.
You may be thinking of choosing a trustee who is close to the beneficiary. If the trustee has a personal connection, he or she may be more invested in the beneficiary’s wellbeing. On the other hand, a person who is emotionally invested in the beneficiary may have a hard time making objective decisions. At times, it may be in the beneficiary’s interest for the trustee to deny a request. However, the relationship between the two may make it difficult for the trustee to make the necessary decision for the good of the beneficiary if it appears that the relationship may be at stake.
A trustee is a fiduciary, i.e., someone who has the authority to make decisions on someone else’s behalf. It may be a good idea for you to choose someone who has had experience in that kind of role.