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How to choose the best possible trustee

Creating a trust may be one of the best estate planning decisions you ever make. With so many steps to take and potential trouble lurking around every corner, it's important to proceed with caution.

One of the most important decisions you will make is the selection of a trustee. You must name a person who is honest, trustworthy and willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that your trust is always in good hands, even after you are gone.

Choosing a trustee sounds simple enough, until you have to make a final decision with the realization that it will impact your estate plan in a variety of ways. Here are the types of tips you can follow:

  • You don't need to choose someone with a high level of expertise. In other words, your trustee doesn't need to have experience acting in this manner. Furthermore, he or she doesn't have to be a Wall Street trader or certified public accountant. Some with sound knowledge and good common sense can make a great choice.
  • Choose your trustee based largely on age and health. While experience, knowledge and trust is important, you should also consider the age and health of your trustee. You want to know that this person will be around and able to act when the time comes.
  • Choose more than one trustee. While you don't have to do this, you have the right to choose co-trustees. There are many benefits of doing so, including the ability to keep more than one person happy, such as if you have multiple adult children. This also helps in the event that something happens to one of your trustees, such as he or she passing on prematurely.
  • Review your trust and trustee designation often. If you neglect to do so, you could leave someone as your trustee, such as a spouse after a divorce, who really shouldn't have this responsibility.

The steps you take to choose a trustee may not be the same as the next person, but focusing on these details can help. When you know the legal process behind creating a trust, you can confidently move forward with the rest of the process, which includes naming a trustee.

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