When creating a trust, it is important to consider who shall be the most suitable trustee that can carry on last wishes with respect and accuracy. Choosing a reliable trustee can help lessen the chances of a trust going through litigation after a person passes on. The period of time following a cherished family member’s passing can be a very sensitive and tender time for loved ones. The last thing surviving family will want to happen is to have the added stress of litigation to deal with.
A New Jersey trust lawyer understands the ins and out of the legal system and can offer sound advice when it comes to finalizing and updating your trust. Clients also often turn to us for representation if a loved one’s trust does end up in litigation. Here in this article, we have listed some tips on how to pick the right person to be the appointed trustee for your legacy.
#1 – Someone With Experience & Common Sense
The person you appoint does not have to be someone who is an expert on all things trusts, wills and estates. However, you do need someone who will know when it is time to ask for help in the event they stumble into a question or concern after you are gone. Someone who has a basic sense of business and whom you trust to make decisions that will be in your best interest, is the way to go. A person that lacks common sense may make easy mistakes without even knowing it, or not be able to realize when they should seek assistance from a professional.
#2 Consider Age & Health
Do think about this person’s age, and how old they will be around the time you estimate you will pass on. The trustee must outlive you. Choosing someone younger that will likely have the mental capacity to handle things when the time comes, is the best option. It is smart to choose a backup trustee if for some reason your first choice is unable to fulfill their duties. You can write down a specific name for the alternative trustee, or approve your initial trustee to assign the new executor of the trust.
#3 After Choosing a Trustee, Update Your Trust
Once you have completed your trust, the work is unfortunately not over. Every so often you will want to update your trust based on any major changes in your life, including divorce, change in friendships, new family members, financial status, etc. If you do not update your trust, it may not reflect what your ultimate wishes would have been at the time right before your passing. Editing it from time to time when needed, can help prevent part of your legacy going into the hands of those you no longer associate with.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Klenk Law for their insight into estate planning and trusts.