Let’s say your father has named you as the trustee of his trust upon his passing. He thought you were most capable of looking after mom. You probably want to accept this role, after all he specifically chose you, but are you ready for all it entails? You are personally liable if you fail to meet your duties.
Most people want family members or trusted friends, not a representative from some institution like a bank, to serve as trustees because family and friends know and care more about the beneficiaries.
Trusts can be wonderful tools but being a trustee can be a difficult and complex task.
As trustee, you must prudently manage the money that is needed to care for your mother and could possibly pass to you and your siblings. Even in families that get along well, there is a natural conflict between mom’s interests and the children’s interests and the potential for many opinions about how to manage the assets. There are also specific trust laws, rules, provisions in the trust, and a separate tax structure and filing regimen for trusts that must be considered.
Between the people involved and the requirements, there is no limit to the twists and turns that can arise. Trusts can be wonderful tools but being a trustee can be a difficult and complex task. We have a process that allows you to make decisions for the trust, helps you meet the legal, tax and other requirements, and insulates you from liability with respect to investment management. The result is a trustee that knows and cares about the family and trust assets that are professionally and prudently managed in compliance with the trust and trust law. That is probably exactly what your father really wanted.
Preparing a sound financial plan can help to ensure you will be ready for whatever lies ahead. Uncertainty in the financial markets makes having an advocate for your family’s unique interests essential.
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