SELECTING A TRUSTEE

The following are some questions to ask yourself when selecting a trustee:

 1. What are the assets to be held in trust?

  • Are there any “problem” assets; i.e., assets which could expose the trustee to extraordinary liability.
  • Are there any investments requiring special expertise; i.e., small businesses, speculative real estate, highly regulated activities, etc.?
  • Are there assets located in several jurisdictions?

2. What are the financial skills of the appointee?

  • The appointee’s financial and business knowledge and background.
  • The appointee’s ability to predict future cash needs and establish or modify a budget.
  • The appointee’s ability to manage a portfolio.

3. Will the appointee’s time and family commitments overly restrict his or her ability to serve?

In other words, even if the appointee has the necessary financial knowledge, will the appointee have the spare time and commitment outside of employment to:

  • Sell/buy at the optimum time.
  • Keep investments properly invested.
  • Select/modify the proper investment strategy.
  • Properly monitor investments; i.e., rental properties.
  • Promptly address problems as they arise.
  • Timely deliver investment and asset information.
  • Make the “hard call.”
  • Continuously meet with and evaluate the needs of the beneficiaries.

4. Will the appointee have the desire to be the trustee?

5. Will the appointee be able to get along with the beneficiaries? Will the appointee be able to properly make decisions and still maintain a harmonious relationship with the beneficiaries?

6. Will the appointee know when to seek the help of outside professionals; i.e., attorneys, accountants, investment planners, etc.?

7. Will the appointee’s other activities create a conflict of interest with the trust assets or the general purposes of the trust?


We hope that the above discussion has brought to light many of the issues which must be addressed in the estate planning process. It is intended for informational purposes only and to assist a client in his or her general understanding of the estate planning process. We do not intend for this to be an exhaustive discussion of all issues involved.  Nor do we intend for this information to be a substitute for legal advice.  However, if you have any questions about any of the above information, or if you need additional assistance with your estate planning, please feel free to contact us.