Every trust needs a trustee. Most often, the clients that form the trusts serve as trustees or co-trustees until they are no longer able to do so. At that point, someone else must step up and manage the affairs of the trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries.
There are three viable options for your successor trustee.
Friends and/or Family
- If you have a loved one that has experience in trust administration, this is a viable option. However, note that roughly 40% of the time when you name a loved one as successor trustee, family disharmony follows. Note also that serving as successor trustee is not a perk or privilege – it is a chore and a responsibility.
- Big banks are usually extremely competent, professional, and thorough. However, stereotypically, they are not relational or sensitive to the unique needs of individual beneficiaries, they are expensive, and they will not keep your assets with your preferred financial advisor. This means that one of the most trusted advisors to your family will no longer be participating in the affairs of the family, and the wisdom, knowledge, and perspective of your financial advisor will not serve as a benefit to your family after your passing.
- Independent Trustees are professionals with extensive experience in trust matters, maintain professional insurance, cost less than big banks, and seek to accomplish your wishes to the maximum extent possible – even if creative thinking is required. They also keep your existing team of professional advisors on the court whenever possible. This can be invaluable when circumstances change or when situations call for more complex or proactive decision making for the benefit of your beneficiaries.