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How to Choose a Trustworthy Trustee

If you are leaving real estate or other assets to your heirs using a trust, one of the most important decisions you will make is the person you choose to act as trustee. That person will be responsible for managing the trust assets and following your wishes in making distributions to heirs.

Some questions to ask when making your decision include:

  • Does the trustee understand my family history?
  • Does the trustee have a solid track record managing investments?
  • How much does the trustee charge?
  • Has the trustee ever been sued?
  • Is the trustee located in a state with trust-friendly laws?

Here are some other things worth bearing in mind when choosing a trustee:

  • Bank trustees typically charge around one percent of trust assets to manage funds, although the percentage usually decreases with larger trust funds.
  • If you use a bank or trust company, you can try to negotiate the fee, especially if you have a long-standing relationship with the institution or have a multimillion dollar trust fund.
  • Naming your Uncle Larry as the trustee isn’t necessarily cheaper than choosing a financial services company. That’s because many states set fees for trustees, although these can be waived if everyone is in agreement.
  • Some families use co-trustees, typically a family member and an institution, who serve as checks and balances. You should include a mechanism in your trust for resolving any disputes, such as requiring a mediator or arbitrator.

No matter whom you choose as a trustee, be sure to include a clause in your trust allowing you or your heirs to change trustees. It may be a hassle in some states to change trustees, but it’s better than staying with a bad trustee.

Contact our Fort Myers estate planning law firm for a complimentary consultation on how we can help you with asset protection planning.
Categories: Trusts
dorcey law firm
The Dorcey Law Firm, PLC - Fort Myers Attorney
Located at 10181 Six Mile Cypress Pkwy, Suite C, Fort Myers, FL 33966
Phone: (239) 330-6674
Local Phone: (239) 418-0169