Who you appoint as the trustee of a trust can have a huge impact on the success of the trust itself. Stories abound in the news of people who made a bad choice in the appointment of a trustee and consequently lost enormous sums of money. Deciding on a trustee can be a very difficult and personal decision. When choosing a trustee for your trust, there are a few factors that you should take into account before making your final decision.
The Purpose and Complexity of The Trust: What type of trust you create is an important factor to consider. The complexity of your trust is also something to consider. A simple pet trust, for example, will be much easier to administer than a multi-million dollar charitable trust.
- Location of Trust Assets: One of the main duties of a trustee is to manage and oversee the trust assets. As such, your trustee should be located near the trust assets if they are tangible assets such as real property.
- Relationship of the Trustee to the Beneficiaries: Many people immediately think of appointing a family member as trustee. While this is certainly an option, ask yourself whether the potential trustee has a conflict of interest with any of the beneficiaries, or has a financial interest in the trust as a result of the relationship to a beneficiary, before you appoint him or her to the position of trustee.
- Financial Ability and Experience: Even the administration of a simple trust requires a certain degree of financial experience and ability. A complex trust requires a great degree of both. Remember that your trustee needs to be not only someone in whom you trust, but someone in whom you have confidence in their ability to successfully administer the trust assets as well as perform all the other duties associated with being a trustee.