When you establish a trust, you name someone to be the trustee. A trustee does what you do right now with your financial affairs—collect income, pay bills and taxes, buy and sell property, provide for your loved ones, and generally keep things organized and in good order.
You can be the trustee of your revocable living trust. If you are married, your spouse can be co-trustee.
Most irrevocable trusts do not allow you to be a trustee.
Even though you may be allowed to be your own trustee, you may not be the best choice.
You can also choose an adult child, a friend, or a professional or corporate trustee.
Who Can Be Your Trustee
If you have a revocable living trust, you can be your own trustee. If married, your spouse can be a trustee with you. Some prefer a professional trustee (e.g., a bank trust department or trust company) for the experience and investment skills these entities offer. The trustee you name must follow the instructions in your trust. You can even replace your trustee if you change your mind.
When to Consider a Professional or Corporate Trustee
A professional trustee is valuable in several instances. You may be in declining health with no children or other trusted relatives living nearby that have the time or ability to manage your trust. You may not have the time, desire, or experience to manage investments by yourself. Also, certain irrevocable trusts may not allow you to be trustee. In these situations, a professional trustee may be exactly what you need. Professional trustees charge a fee. However, the fee is generally quite reasonable, especially considering their experience, the services provided, and the investment returns that a professional trustee can deliver.
We can help you select and educate your trustees so that they have the support and ability to carry out your wishes. Give us a call today at 515-727-0986 for a free initial consultation.
The attorneys at Pearson Bollman Law practice in the areas of estate planning, probate/trust administration, special needs trusts, and elder law, which includes Medicaid and VA Trust Planning. Visit us at www.pearsonbollmanlaw.com to sign up for one of our free educational workshops!