Daniel P. Randolph, EsqIf you have a trust, whom did you choose as your trustee?  Is it your spouse, your child/children, a good friend, or your financial institution?

People generally choose relatives or close friends rather than corporate trustees to oversee their trust.  The reason for this is usually spouses and children do not take a trustee fee and the grantor of the trust generally doesn’t like the idea of paying a trustee fee.  But the primary selection of these trustees may not be in the best interests of the trust as these individuals often don’t have the financial savvy or organizational skills to wisely invest the assets, and bitter feelings can arise if one sibling was picked over others to serve.  In addition to investing, a trustee must make distributions to the beneficiaries of the trust in accordance with the grantor’s wishes, give consideration to special requests of the beneficiaries, and take care of tax matters, including filing yearly tax returns.  And with the state of the economy, a trustee’s job can be quite complex.

In setting up a trust, it makes sense to select a trustee for their financial acumen and trustworthiness, but family members generally are still chosen, whether they possess these qualities or not.  If there are no family members that are qualified to serve as trustee, often a professional trustee is named to handle the trust.  If you are still concerned about the management of your trust and wish to have your families input, you may wish to consider appointing two family members and a corporate trustee and have the language of the trust clearly define the roles of each co-trustee.