Choosing the Right Trustee for Your Estate Plan

Choosing the Right Trustee for Your Estate Plan

[caption id="attachment_875" align="alignleft" width="265"]Howard M. Lang Howard M. Lang[/caption]

Howard M. Lang, J.D., is a principal at Estate and Business Law Group, PC, with offices in Libertyville and Chicago, Illinois. Lang is also a co-author of the book, “Your Life. Your Legacy.” For more information about all aspects of estate planning, please contact Wheaton Wealth Partners or Howard Lang at www.eblawgroup.com or (847) 367-4460 directly.

Developing a sound estate plan helps you control your property, addresses your needs to take care of yourself and your loved ones should you become disabled, and enables you to give what you have to those you wish at a time and in a manner you choose. A well-drafted, technically correct, and properly funded estate plan can also help you and your beneficiaries save on taxes, professional fees and court costs.

 

 

An estate plan is a great place to tell your story and keep your legacy alive long after you are gone.

When choosing an estate planning attorney, you should work with someone who is not only knowledgeable about wills, trusts and estates, but also someone whom you can trust and who is truly interested in getting to know you. Together you will create a plan that should reflect your needs, dreams and desires.

In addition to being technically correct, an estate plan needs to be “fully funded”. Your attorney can help you understand the rules that govern titling property/assets to ensure your property/assets in a “Revocable Living Trust” pass to whom you choose, the way you choose.

Another important factor in developing a sound estate plan is choosing who will be the trustee of your plan. I encourage clients to give careful thought to choosing their trustees. The person/entity that you choose should be aware of his or her duties and responsibilities as the trustee of your plan and understand how to implement the instructions outlined in your plan regarding how the trust assets are to be distributed to the beneficiaries or otherwise used for their benefit. Among other responsibilities, the trustee must protect the trust assets and make sure they are properly invested, prepare annual accountings, and file tax returns for the trust.

A trustee can be any adult, such as a family member or friend. You may also choose to retain the services of a professional trustee, for example, an attorney, a Certified Public Accountant, a trust company, or the trust department of a bank. Each has advantages and disadvantages.

Often a good compromise is to name more than one trustee to serve simultaneously as co-trustees. A co-trustee, such as a family member, who personally knows the beneficiaries can be assigned the responsibility of deciding when to distribute trust assets, and a second co-trustee who is more adept at financial matters, (such as a financial advisor, or trust company) can be assigned the responsibility for investing the trust assets.

[caption id="attachment_886" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Considerations in Choosing a Trustee Considerations in Choosing a Trustee[/caption]

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