Should I Designate Co-Trustees?

For many individuals, an extensive estate plan consists of one or more trusts. Trusts provide many advantages such as versatility, control and both tax and probate avoidance in some cases. There are a wide range of trusts that you can choose from when you choose to develop a trust, all trusts require the exact same basic aspects to begin– a recipient, a trustee and funds.

When deciding who to designate as trustee, you may consider selecting co-trustees, however is this actually a smart concept? Although just you can make that decision, there are some things you might want to think about prior to making the decision.
Estate planning rules generally allow you to name anyone you wish as trustee and do not restrict you to naming just one trustee. For this reason, individuals often think about calling more than one trustee. If, for instance, you have more than one child you may be worried that calling one child as trustee will develop a family rift. While naming two kids might avoid this, it can cause dispute within the trust itself. When there are two trustees that can not agree with each other, crucial choices might end up in a deadlock. If you feel that it is very important to consist of more than one trustee in your trust, think about naming 3 instead of two so that decisions can be made by a majority vote. Or appoint a trust consultant, someone who is independent and can be hired to break a tie vote and perform various other functions where self-reliance is wanted. This is also referred to as a special trustee.

Of course, another alternative is merely to select one neutral trustee instead of including member of the family. This might be an attorney or a professional trustee. By appointing a neutral trustee, not just do you prevent producing dispute within the family, but you have someone who is not mentally thinking about the result of trust decisions supervising those decisions. This prevents both dispute within the family and a conflict of interest with any choices made regarding the trust itself. Make sure to speak to your estate planning attorney prior to you make a choice regarding who to select as the trustee, or co-trustees, of your trust.

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