If you have a revocable living trust, you can be your own Trustee. If you are married, your spouse can act as co-Trustee. Upon you or your spouse’s passing, the surviving spouse will take over and manage the financial and family affairs pursuant to the terms of the trust. You don’t have to be your own trustee. Some people choose to nominate a professional trustee with experience in investments. Some people may choose a trusted family friend or an adult son or daughter. On the other hand, there are certain trusts whereby you cannot serve as your own Trustee, where you will have to make a conscious decision when deciding who will take over the management of the trust assets.
Given the many responsibilities of your chosen Trustee, it is important that you choose as Trustee, an individual with certain qualities that naturally complement his or her role as Trustee. Along with common sense, the person of your choice should be:
1. Honest and Trustworthy
3. Willing to serve
5. Savvy about investments and taxes
6. A good listener and communicator
7. Able to handle and resolve conflict
8. Careful about keeping records
Remember: naming someone else, other than yourself, as Trustee or co-Trustee does not mean that you lose control. The Trustee you choose must follow the instructions in your Trust. The Trustee owes certain fiduciary duties, which ensures that they cannot stray from the terms of your Trust without repercussions.
(Any beneficiary of the trust can demand an accounting of how money from the trust was spent)
By taking the time to think about the right person to act as your Trustee now, you can help ensure that your wishes and your affairs, as documented in your Trust Instrument will be followed without hiccup.