The laws are generally not very strict about who can serve in the important role of a trustee or administrator of your established trust. However, some careful thought and consideration should go into this process. The legal requirements for a person to serve as a trustee require that he or she be over 18 years of age, is capable of managing their own affairs, and are legally competent.
As a factor in selecting your own trustee, the primary consideration should be choosing a person who is trustworthy. The trustee has a responsibility to act in the best interests of the beneficiary.
While your trustee does not have to have specific financial or legal expertise, you must be sure that this person has relatively good judgment and understands the terms of the trust. Federal benefit program knowledge should also be a factor to look for when selecting a person who will help to administer a special needs trust.
Furthermore, you must be aware of the possibility that a trustee might have to manage the trust for a long period of time. This means your selection of trustee should be a person who will likely be around for quite a while and has the time and ability to devote to trustee duties.
This individual has to be of sound mind and body. An independent trustee might be a better selection for you because this is an institution or individual who has no direct interest in the trust.
Common examples of independent trustees include investment bankers, professional trustees, a bank or a trust company, an investment advisor, a lawyer or an accountant. This individual will be independent but will also likely have the benefit of being familiar with trust administration.
Many people who generate revocable living trusts don’t truly reap all of the advantages available to them. They might understand the basic benefits associated with putting together a revocable living trust, but you need to ensure that you are heirs are able to enjoy the benefits of this trust down the road.
In a typical living trust, you and your spouse might transfer the title of the majority of your assets to the trust and then serve as co-trustees. This empowers you to maintain control over the assets and manage them as you did before, except you are serving as a trustee rather than the individual owner.
There are numerous different benefits associated with a living trust, the first one is that your assets inside the trust avoid probate and a successor trustee will step in to manage on your behalf after you pass away. If the original one becomes disabled, a living trust can also be very beneficial. The most common mistake made with living trusts has to do with failing to transfer legal title of assets to the trust. This is referred to officially funding the trust and it can be done by sitting down in a meeting with an experienced estate planning attorney.
If you have decided to use a trust to pass on your assets, this can be an exciting decision that gives you peace of mind about the firmness of your plans. If you don’t ensure that the trust is properly funded, however, it’s unlikely that your trust is going to carry out the plans that you intended.
If you already have assets inside the trust, make sure that you set up reminders to continuously review your materials and always have unfunded or new assets titled into the trust’s name. Don’t ever assume that these changes have been made, since the ownership of verification falls squarely on your shoulders. Keep copies of documents that confirm your changes so that you are always clear on what’s been taken care of already. If values have also changed, ensure that is updated as well.
If an asset that you used to own has now passed onto someone else through a sale or closure, make sure it’s removed from your funding portfolio. This makes it easier on your family members in the future and the trust executor so that they are not searching for assets that are no longer present. To review your funding in your living trusts, get in touch with us through email at email@example.com or over the phone 732-521-9455