In this Elder Law Minute, Kaye DeSelms Dent discusses the importance of choosing the right trustee and the benefits to using a professional trustee instead of a family member in certain situations.
Hi, I’m Kaye DeSelms Dent with Dent Coulson Elder Law, Here with an elder law minute for you. These videos are intended to educate you about the elder care journey, which begins earlier in life than you might think. We hope that you find them useful, and if you have further questions, please call us at Dent Coulson Elder Law.
Choosing the Right Trustee
Today I want to talk a little bit about Trustee selection if you are setting up a trust as part of your estate plan.
First of all , there are a lot of different kinds of trusts for different purposes, and which trustee is right for your trust depends on what kind of trust it is and why you are setting it up in the first place and what kind of trust it is. For a revokable living trust, which is an common estate planning tool, you’re probably going to be your own trustee, and if you’re married, you and your spouse might be co-trustees of your trust; You might each have a trust that you’re co-trustees of. But, when you are getting beyond revokable trust planning, into trusts like, supplemental needs trusts or inheritance protection trusts for your children, you might have to consider using a professional trustee. Sometimes people don’t like that idea because it does come with a cost, but there are a couple of things to remember.
First of all, a professional trustee has the proper training and software to handle the trust accounting, and they’re much less likely to make a mistake than a family member who has no training and no experience in handling a trust. Second of all, they’re usually insured so if they make a mistake, they can make good on it.
It’s also important to remember, that as a disinterested third party, a professional trustee is going to make decisions based on data and based on proven investor rules, and other more objective, than subjective variables. A family member trustee, may try to “do what is right” and sometimes, that’s wrong. We’ve seen a lot of family members trustees make mistakes over the years, and we want to council clients about selecting the trustee that’s right for their trust and right for their situation. For supplemental needs trusts for instance, how the trustee distributes assets out of the trust can have an effect on the disabled beneficiary’s benefits. Sometimes that effect can be devastating if its not done properly.
I am frankly pretty insistent about using professional trustees with supplemental needs trusts, but again every situation can be different. Trust are set up for many different reasons, and there are many different kinds of trusts.
If you need assistance in setting up a trust and you want to get proper advice on selecting a proper trustee, please call us here at Dent Coulson Elder Law, we’ll be glad to help.
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Dent-Coulson Elder Law is dedicated to providing families in the St. Louis area with their Elder Law needs. Our practice areas include Asset Preservation Planning, Veterans Benefits, Medicaid Eligibility, Alzheimer’s Planning, Special Needs Planning, Estate Planning and more. We understand the financial challenges you may face as you and your loved ones grow older. At Dent-Coulson Elder Law, our clients’ well-being is our number one priority. For immediate help, call (618) 632-7000 (IL) or (314) 567-9292 (MO), or Contact Us and we will get in touch as soon as possible.