For the purpose of this article, we will focus on practices and terminology for outlining the steps in choosing a trustee for your inheritance.
In the process of estate planning, you will have to appoint certain people who will be responsible for managing different aspects of your estate and your will. It is more than a matter of trust and closeness; the person or persons appointed must be well-suited, capable, and willing to carry out his or her responsibilities to ensure that things run smoothly and with as little conflict as possible.
The first person that you will have to appoint in your will is the trustee . His or her major responsibilities are numerous and incredibly important. These duties include reviewing the will, making funeral arrangements, notifying beneficiaries, securing estate assets, submitting the will for probate, advertising for estate creditors, paying financial obligations, completing final tax returns, making trust arrangement, preparing estate accounts, and distributing the inheritance.
The trustee plays a crucial role in ensuring that the will takes effect, so it’s only proper to require that the person you choose has integrity, good judgment, organizational skills, accessibility, familiarity, and legal and financial awareness.
Given the scale of the trustee’s responsibilities, most testators have taken to appointing more than one person to fulfill this role. One common choice is to appoint someone within the family, as a family member already has an understanding of the family dynamics. Another option is to hire the services of a corporate trustee, which can either be a law firm or a trust company.
There are valid reasons for choosing a corporate trustee, and one of the most cited reasons is to ensure that the management, settlement, and disposition of the estate goes smoothly and efficiently.
Here are other reasons that you might want to consider:
- Appointing a corporate trustee means that you don’t have to burden your family members or friends with the heavy responsibilities of being a trustee.
- You might not know anyone who has experience and expertise in being a trustee.
- If there might be a potential family strife over the estate, it’s best to appoint a corporate trustee who will not be partial or interested in anything other than settling and managing the estate.
- If there might be a struggle over control of assets or business interests, a corporate trustee is the best party that can intercede.
- With a corporate trustee, you can be more certain that the wishes will be carried out than if you appoint an individual.
These are just a few very important factors to consider when choosing a trustee for your inheritance. It is important to consider these points carefully before making a final decision.