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The importance of naming the right trustee

On Behalf of | May 8, 2018 | Estate Planning |

A trust may serve a number of different purposes for an Ohio resident. It may be used to allow assets to increase in value while deferring taxes. It may also be used to allow the grantor to specify conditions for distribution such as the beneficiary reaching a certain age. The grantor can also state the goal of the trust such as paying for the education of loved ones.

However, many people then go on to make the mistake of naming a family member or close friend as trustee. This is often done because that person understands the grantor’s wishes and the family dynamics and therefore seems like a suitable choice. The problem is that managing a trust can be a daunting and time-consuming task that requires a degree of legal and financial expertise that this person may not possess. The trustee is also considered liable if the assets are mismanaged, so naming a loved one may be an enormous burden.

One alternative is naming a corporate trustee such as a bank. The drawback is a corporate trustee may be less familiar with the grantor’s goals and the family situation. One solution could be using a corporate directed trust model in which the grantor’s regular financial adviser works with the corporate trustee and handles investment and other decisions.

Creating an estate plan is important for all adults even if a trust is not the right tool for every person. At minimum, people should have a will and documents that appoint people to manage their medical and financial affairs if they are incapacitated. However, a person who has minor children, a relative with special needs or a loved one who might be careless with an inheritance might also find a trust useful.