You may view estate planning as the execution of a document that is used to state your final wishes. This is obviously at the core of the endeavor, but you should also consider the administration phase.
Someone has to complete the hands-on tasks to bring your wishes to fruition when the time comes. When you understand all the facts, you may choose a living trust as the centerpiece of your estate plan. If you go in this direction, the administrator would be the trustee.
We are going to share some things to think about with regard to the trustee selection, but first, we will provide a rundown of the benefits that living trusts provide.
Living Trust Advantages
If you use a simple will as your asset transfer vehicle, the executor would handle the estate administration tasks, and they would not be able to act independently. The will would be admitted to probate after your death, and the Surrogate’s Court would preside over the process.
This is a time-consuming procedure, and no inheritances are distributed while it is underway. Probate records are available to the general public, and the costs consume a noticeable portion of the estate.
When a living trust is utilized to facilitate asset transfers, the probate process is not a factor. You can include spendthrift protections if you have a living trust, and you can name a disability trustee to manage the resources in the event of your incapacity.
Choosing the Right Trustee
Any adult can technically act as the trustee of a living trust, and the right choice will depend on the circumstances.
For example, let’s say that your two children are going to inherit all of your property, and you want them to you assume ownership immediately after your passing. One child is a local accountant, and the other is a journalist that travels the world.
They get along very well, and they trust one another completely. You could make your local child the trustee, and he or she could administer the trust. Since both children are on the same page, there would be no conflicts of interest, and this would probably be the simplest way to proceed.
When a married couple has a living trust, the surviving spouse would almost always be the beneficiary and the trustee. These are neat and tidy situations, but there are other scenarios that are a bit more complicated.
If there are competing interests, you have to keep this in mind. You may not know anyone personally that is ready, willing, and able to act as an impartial trustee. Plus, it can be a long-term assignment if you want the assets to be distributed over an extended period of time.
This being stated, if you do know someone that is objective and up to the task, our firm can be engaged to provide the necessary legal assistance during the estate administration process. Since we would draw up the trust initially, we would be ideally positioned to provide guidance.
There is another option that can be the right choice for some people. Banks and trust companies offer fiduciary services for a fee, and there are other professionals that offer this service.
When you have a qualified trustee that is completely objective, you can be certain that the trust will be managed effectively. Plus, there if there are income-producing assets in the trust, a financial professional can get the most out of them.
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