Do I Need a Professional Trustee?
A professional trustee – a person whom you hire to act as the trustee of a trust you have established – may seem at first like a poor investment. After all, if you have friends and family available who can do the job of a trustee, why wouldn’t you want them to act as the trustee of your trust? Yet, hiring a professional trustee for the administration of your living trust or other trust may be the best decision you can make.
When You May Need a Professional Trustee
Only you can determine whether you wish to use the services of a professional trustee to administer your trust, but the advice provided by an experienced estate-planning attorney can provide some clarity and insight and help make the decision easier. You may wish to consider employing a professional trustee when:
- You have no living family members or close friends: If you do not have family members or friends with whom you can trust, a professional trustee may be a wise choice. People typically prefer someone who is familiar with their affairs and also, who can maintain confidentiality to effectively administer their affairs. A professional trustee will not only take the time to understand your wishes and goals regarding your trust and its administration, but professional trustees are bound by the same rules and ethical code that any other trustee would be – an obligation a professional trustee takes very seriously.
- You fear a family fight breaking out: It is not uncommon for a family feud to erupt when one family member is named as your trustee over others. Regardless of the precise reason why you chose the family member you did, other family members may feel resentful, betrayed, and bitter. They may feel as if the person you appointed as trustee will treat them poorly or not follow your wishes as expressed in your trust. Your family members may, however, feel better about the hiring of a neutral and professional trustee to oversee your matters.
- You have significant assets or complicated wishes: Most people who are named as trustees by trust documents are friends or family members who have little or no background in managing someone else’s affairs. As a result, trust assets can be easily mishandled and wishes disregarded through inadvertent and needless mistakes. Many grantors of trusts want their wishes respected and their assets preserved for the benefit of their families and/or charitable causes that are important to them, and a professional trustee generally has more experience and education to better manage your affairs and carry out your trust’s purposes.
Things to Look for in a Professional Trustee
When searching for a professional trustee, you should take the search seriously and interview a potential professional trustee – preferably in person – before signing any contract with him or her. Things you should ask about when interviewing a professional trustee include:
- How long has this trustee provided professional trustee services to others?
- Has this professional trustee provided trustee services to others with assets and trusts similar to my own or would this be the trustee’s first time handling a trust with significant assets?
- Does this professional trustee only provide trustee services or are they able to assist in other trust administration matters that may arise such as legal challenges and lawsuits?
At BarthCalderon, LLP, our legal team has over 120 years of combined legal experience and we have assisted numerous clients in creating to protect their assets and then administering those trusts so that our clients’ wishes are carried out. Let us show you how hiring BarthCalderon LLP as a professional trustee for your trust can give you and your family and heirs piece of mind. Call us today at (800) 548-8564 to discuss your situation.