Daily Law Group
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Choosing the right trustee is necessary for success

One major concern among those who hire or use a trustee or fiduciary is whether or not that person is trustworthy. Financial planners and attorneys suggest using trusts because of their many benefits, but having the wrong trustee could pose a problem.

The trust is only truly as good as the trustee. Why? This is the person who has documentation on the trust and distributes assets. It's the person who handles complex financial issues and works with beneficiaries. If this person isn't trustworthy, then there is a major problem.

What responsibilities does a fiduciary have to a trust?

A fiduciary has the responsibility to handle the assets of the trust in accordance with how the beneficiaries wish to see them handled.

Trustees should have a certain amount of respect and loyalty to beneficiaries even if they've never met. The trustee's goal needs to be to do whatever the beneficiaries aim for, whether that's maximizing the funds in the trust or distributing the assets according to their preferences. Of course, this all has to be in line with the set-up of the trust and the original creator's wishes, too.

Trustees must fulfill their responsibilities, but the reality is that many who are put in charge of these complicated matters find them difficult to handle. Why is that the case? It comes down to who's in charge.

Who typically becomes a trustee?

When someone establishes a trust fund, it's normal for them to look to family or friends to find a trustee. While some may be capable of handling the demands of a trust, others have little or no experience handling a trust or the financial complications one can come with. A lack of follow-through in any case can result in losses and trouble for the trust, something that no one wants to see happen.

What can you do to make sure the right person's assigned as a trustee?

For many, turning to a professional to become a trustee is the right choice. Attorneys, financial advisors and others with experience may best handle a trust to the benefit of the heirs.

Take your time when you're choosing a trustee, because you do not want to put someone in charge of a trust when they are incapable of managing it effectively. You worked hard for your assets and want to leave as much as possible behind for your heirs, so choosing the right trustee matters.

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