Picking a living trust trustee is not an easy task. The trustee is the person who is in charge of the trust during your lifetime. In most cases, the initial trustee is the person who created the trust, you the Grantor. In addition to the Grantor as trustee, it is a good idea to name at least two successors for during any periods of disability of the Grantor or after death. This successor trustee is responsible for managing the property covered by the trust for you if you are incapacitated and your loved ones upon your death.
These successors may be an individual such as a family member or an institution such as a bank or trust company. We suggest looking at an individual first before turning to a corporate trustee because of cost and the personal touch. A corporate trustee would give the professional oversight to the money but will charge a fee for service whereas a family member may or may not charge the trust to act and will personally know the beneficiaries.
When picking the living trust trustee to succeed you, you should look at the potential selections through what our law firm calls a financial microscope to determine if they would be a good selection. Ask yourself, how do they fair with respect to these three questions?
• Do they understand money? In other words, is it on their radar and do they pay attention to financial matters. They do not need to be financial experts but they need to have money awareness?
• Do they spend their own money wisely or frivolously? and
• Do you TRUST them?
If the answer to these three questions is yes, then they are probably going to be a good living trust trustee. If the answer is no, and you cannot find family or friends that do stand up to these questions, then you should probably consider a corporate trust company or bank as successor living trust trustee.
Robert Olson is the lead attorney at DIY Lawyer. A website dedicated to helping people do their own legal work including drafting a Living Trust. They offer an e-book with a money back guarantee titled the Living Trust Annotated. This book teaches you to draft your own Living Trust for a fraction of what you would pay an attorney. With the purchase of the e-book you also receive a free half hour phone consultation with a DIY Lawyer to answer your questions about the book. You can read about it at DIY Lawyer's Living Trust Annotated.
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