Should you make your trustee a family member?

On Behalf of | Mar 16, 2021 | Estate Planning

Choosing a trustee is one of the most important decisions you’ll make for your Florida estate. Your trustee will distribute certain assets among your loved ones. The law places a few limitations on their powers, but they’ll still have control over your assets, which can become an issue if your trustee decides to act in their own best interests.

How do you choose a trustee?

During the estate planning process, you’ll want to choose someone who’s humble, responsible and good with money. If they can’t manage their own finances, you don’t want to put them in charge of a trust that’s worth a significant amount. Even if they mean well, they might not distribute the assets according to your wishes.

Since this is a sensitive situation, you might not want to choose a family member at all. If drama breaks out, the trustee might take sides or take advantage of the fact that they have power over their relatives. Your estate planning attorney might recommend choosing a neutral third party who doesn’t know your family personally. This person could act objectively and bring their experience as a trustee to the job.

One upside of choosing a family member is that they might not require a fee. However, they’re entitled to take a fee if they want to, which means that they’ll receive a percentage of assets from your trust. This could cause infighting among your family members who feel like they’ve lost part of their inheritance.

How do you find the best option for you?

An attorney could tell you about your options and help you find the best trustee for your situation. If you have a good relationship with one of your relatives, they might be the best trustee for the job. Otherwise, you might want to appoint a neutral third party.