Do I Need a Professional Trustee?
A professional trustee – a person whom you hire to act as the trustee
of a trust you have established – may seem at first like a poor
investment. After all, if you have friends and family available who can
do the job of a trustee, why wouldn’t you want them to act as the
trustee of your trust? Yet, hiring a professional trustee for the administration
of your living trust or other trust may be the best decision you can make.
When You May Need a Professional Trustee
Only you can determine whether you wish to use the services of a professional
trustee to administer your trust, but the advice provided by an experienced
estate-planning attorney can provide some clarity and insight and help
make the decision easier. You may wish to consider employing a professional
You have no living family members or close friends: If you do not have family members or friends with whom you can trust,
a professional trustee may be a wise choice. People typically prefer someone
who is familiar with their affairs and also, who can maintain confidentiality
to effectively administer their affairs. A professional trustee will not
only take the time to understand your wishes and goals regarding your
trust and its administration, but professional trustees are bound by the
same rules and ethical code that any other trustee would be – an
obligation a professional trustee takes very seriously.
You fear a family fight breaking out: It is not uncommon for a family feud to erupt when one family member
is named as your trustee over others. Regardless of the precise reason
why you chose the family member you did, other family members may feel
resentful, betrayed, and bitter. They may feel as if the person you appointed
as trustee will treat them poorly or not follow your wishes as expressed
in your trust. Your family members may, however, feel better about the
hiring of a neutral and professional trustee to oversee your matters.
You have significant assets or complicated wishes: Most people who are named as trustees by trust documents are friends
or family members who have little or no background in managing someone
else’s affairs. As a result, trust assets can be easily mishandled
and wishes disregarded through inadvertent and needless mistakes. Many
grantors of trusts want their wishes respected and their assets preserved
for the benefit of their families and/or charitable causes that are important
to them, and a professional trustee generally has more experience and
education to better manage your affairs and carry out your trust’s purposes.
Things to Look for in a Professional Trustee
When searching for a professional trustee, you should take the search seriously
and interview a potential professional trustee – preferably in person
– before signing any contract with him or her. Things you should
ask about when interviewing a professional trustee include:
- How long has this trustee provided professional trustee services to others?
- Has this professional trustee provided trustee services to others with
assets and trusts similar to my own or would this be the trustee’s
first time handling a trust with significant assets?
- Does this professional trustee only provide trustee services or are they
able to assist in other trust administration matters that may arise such
as legal challenges and lawsuits?
At BarthCalderon, LLP, our legal team has over 120 years of combined legal
experience and we have assisted numerous clients in creating to protect
their assets and then administering those trusts so that our clients’
wishes are carried out. Let us show you how hiring BarthCalderon LLP as
a professional trustee for your trust can give you and your family and
heirs piece of mind. Call us today at (800) 548-8564 to discuss your situation.